The University of Florida received a record $837.6 million in research funding in fiscal year 2018, surpassing the previous record set in fiscal 2016 by $113.6 million, or nearly 16 percent.
This significant increase was largely due to increased funding from the federal government, reaching a record high of $560.6 million, a nearly 23 percent increase over last year. The university realized substantial increases in funding from the Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS, up 12.3 percent to $283 million. About two-thirds of the HHS funding, $188 million, came from the National Institutes of Health. The university secured increased funding from most of the federal agencies, including the Department of Agriculture, up 34.1 percent to $59.5 million; and the Department of Defense, up 128.3 percent to $49.2 million.
Funding from foundations and non-profits also surpassed all previous years with $128.6 million in funding. Industry provided $61 million and the state of Florida awarded $45.9 million.
Funding to the College of Medicine accounted for 42 percent of UF’s total with a record $348.9 million, up 14.5 percent over last year. The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences received a record $166.2 million, a 54 percent increase over last year and 20 percent of the total; the College of Engineering was up 20 percent to a record $85.3 million, 10 percent of the total; and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, up nearly 7 percent to $39.9 million, 5 percent of the total. The total for the rest of the colleges was $197.3 million.
“These record-shattering numbers reflect the growing prestige and reputation of the University of Florida as a research powerhouse,” said David Norton, UF’s vice president for research. “Each award represents targeted funding for UF faculty to advance the boundaries of discovery and knowledge in fields ranging from health care to engineering to understanding the fundamental nature of our universe. The record amount of total funding is also testament to the significant investment the state has made in UF over the past decade, which has enabled us to attract, retain and support outstanding research faculty across the institution.”
Norton estimated that the more than 120 research faculty hired since 2014 have brought nearly $200 million in awards to the university in that period.
UF had more than 100 awards of $1 million or more in 2018. Examples of the impactful research funded this year include:
- An $11.5 million award from the nonprofit Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, or PCORI, to a team led by Dr. Nancy Mendenhall, medical director of the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute. Mendenhall is comparing the effectiveness of traditional radiation treatment and proton therapy for prostate cancer, a leading cause of cancer death in men in the United States. The project will compare 1,500 patients treated with proton therapy with 1,500 patients treated with traditional radiation therapy at 42 treatment centers across the United States.
- An $8.7 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to animal science professor Adegbola Adesogan, director of UF/IFAS’ Feed the Future Innovation Lab, to fund research aimed at tackling global hunger by helping small farmers more effectively manage livestock in Ethiopia and Burkina Faso. Another component of the research in Ethiopia will focus on helping children under the age of 2 avoid chronic gut inflammation by limiting exposure to chicken droppings. An estimated 40 percent of all children under 5 in Ethiopia suffer from malnutrition and stunting that is likely related to the gut inflammation.
- A $6 million award from the U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency, or ARPA-E, to computer engineering Professor Alina Zare to research ways to use backscatter X-rays to more efficiently analyze switchgrass roots for carbon sequestration traits. Zare is collaborating with materials science and engineering professor Jim Baciak to adapt a backscatter X-ray technology he developed for the railroad industry to be used on farm equipment to enable high-resolution imaging of plant roots – without disrupting plants or soil.
- A $1 million grant from the National Institute of Justice to psychology professor Dorothy Espelage to implement a pilot anti-violence program for school resource officers in Miami-Dade Public Schools. Over the next three years, the team will work with at least 140 school resource officers who will, in turn, positively impact over 133,000 students in Miami-Dade County Public Schools.