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Stimulus Money Going to Universities: How Does Stimulus to a Non-Profit Promote the Economy and Private Business

August 3, 2010

University of Utah Breaks Research Funding Record with Federal Stimulus Awards

University of Utah researchers pulled in more than $450 million in funding last year, a record amount for their steadily increasing number of projects. Vice President for Research Tom Parks says the 27-percent increase is largely due to one-time stimulus funding. So does this mean the U. will set a different kind of record once the stimulus is spent?

“Well, yeah, probably so. It’ll probably be a record for a one-year drop in the amount of money,” Parks says. “But there’s sort of two trends: One is the underlying regular research money, and that’s been going up steadily. And the stimulus money.”

The university received more than $82 million in federal stimulus dollars, one quarter of which will be spent on two infrastructure projects: a new chemistry wing and expanding the fiber optics for the Utah Education Network. Other stimulus funding includes $6.4 million for a carbon sequestration study, $2 million for converting biomedical research into clinical treatments, and $1.6 million to help upgrade a gamma ray telescope in Arizona.

Parks says even though the stimulus money will soon expire for these projects, it creates a snowball effect.

“When faculty members get funding for their projects that generally leads to additional funding,” Parks says. “So, the stimulus money will go away, but they’ll be more competitive when going after regular research funding.”

Non-stimulus research funding at the U. increased by nearly $14 million in 2010, and the total number of research grants rose from about 1,900 to nearly 2,100.

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