Impressive Trajectory

U research funding reached a new record last year


Scientific discovery at the U is marching forward at a remarkable pace—and funding for it continues to grow. In FY 2021, research funding at the U hit a new milestone with more than $641 million. The U saw $600 million in FY 2020 and $547 million in FY 2019.

“Despite the ongoing pandemic, U research activities continue to thrive and grow in many disciplines across campus,” Andy Weyrich, the U’s recently departed vice president for research, noted in September. “Our remarkable research community is the reason why the U is a global leader in discovery and innovation.”

Federal funding is the largest source of research grants to the U, comprising 68% of FY21’s funds. More than half of the federal dollars (52%) came from the National Institutes of Health, and 16% came from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The largest single grant in FY21 was awarded to Robert Ricci HBS’01 PhD’10 in the College of Engineering School of Computing. The $4,393,345 grant from the National Science Foundation supports Cloud Lab research computing infrastructure. Overall, the U School of Medicine received the most funding with $289M, followed by the Huntsman Cancer Institute with $83M.

Research grants were awarded to more than 1,000 principal investigators in diverse disciplines across campus. The funding supports nearly 8,000 employees and more than 4,000 trainees, including students, postdoctoral researchers, and research assistants.

U research drives economic growth and development. In FY20, U research grants contributed $228 million to salaries and wages, which contributed $31 million in state and local sales taxes, according to the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute. Since 2000, the U has launched 300 companies and more than 750 products, generating around 37,000 life science jobs.

“We’re very proud of our research community for reaching another historic milestone,” Weyrich said. “We look forward to seeing the exciting discoveries and innovations that will be developed through this funding support.”

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