Campus External Research Funding Shatters Record
By George Foulsham
Research support from external sources broke all previous records at UCSB during the last fiscal year. A total of $194 million was received from federal and state agencies, corporations, and foundations in fiscal 2007-08 — an increase of $18 million over the previous fiscal year. Over the past two years, UCSB has reported a remarkable 22 percent increase in extramural funding.
“We take great pride in the achievements of our faculty, researchers, staff, and students, who together are advancing the frontiers of knowledge and making important contributions to our society,” Chancellor Henry T. Yang said. “I congratulate all of our colleagues on this year’s record level of research funding — more than double what it was a decade ago! It is a wonderful testament to the pre-eminence of our faculty and researchers, and the intellectual vitality of our campus.”
In addition to a wide variety of research units, close to 50 academic departments across the disciplines –– engineering, the sciences, humanities, social sciences, education, and the arts –– were awarded grant funds for research by external agencies in the fiscal year that ended June 30.
Although most of UCSB’s external funding comes from federal agencies, that sector was down slightly this year, according to Michael Witherell, vice chancellor for research. However, the university experienced significant increases in funding from non-federal sources, including private nonprofit foundations and technology companies. Total funding from private non-profits, mostly foundations, also set a record — $30 million.
“UCSB researchers are making new discoveries every month on topics from dark matter in the universe to the extinction rate of species,” Witherell said. “The level of extramural funding represents a leading indicator of similar research breakthroughs in the near future.”
“We take great pride in the achievements of our faculty, researchers, staff, and students, who together are advancing the frontiers of
knowledge and making important contributions to our society.”
– Chancellor Henry T. Yang
The largest foundation grant was awarded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to Michael Gazzaniga, professor of psychology and director of the SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind. The grant is being used to establish a new $10 million national program on the law and neuroscience. Based at UCSB’s Neuroscience Research Institute, it will involve other top universities.
Another significant grant came from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which awarded $389,000 to Debra Lieberman of the Communication Department. The grant will go toward establishing a national program office within UCSB’s Institute for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Research to oversee a new $8.25 million competitive research grants program on how interactive games can be used to improve health.
Industry sponsors awarded $12 million directly to UCSB’s researchers, while another $5 million in federal funding was redirected to the university through industry partners. The $17 million is almost twice as much as the $9 million from industry partners two years ago.
The Mitsubishi Chemical Center for Advanced Materials (MC-CAM) at UCSB is an example of a new emphasis on developing an integrated approach to corporate collaborations. According to Witherell, this helps UCSB reduce the barriers that can impede successful university-industry partnerships, and is another illustration of what academic researchers can accomplish in collaboration with an industry partner.
“MC-CAM has been extraordinarily productive by any measure — scientific papers, patentable inventions, and new doctorates in forefront technologies,” Witherell said.
Another important grant to UCSB came from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the agency that was established by Proposition 71 to promote stem cell research in California. CIRM awarded $4.6 million in grants to UCSB’s new Center for Stem Cell Biology and Engineering.