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More Stimulus Funding Going to (Tax Exempt) Universities. This Stimulates the Economy and Job Market How?

August 19, 2010

University of Nebraska – Lincoln

UNL research funding tops record $139M

Federal stimulus dollars pushed the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s research funding to a record $139.2 million this year, according to the university.

Total research funding, including all external funds awarded for university research in the fiscal year that ended June 30, was up nearly 14 percent from $122.5 million the previous year.

But $21 million of the new funding came from 55 grants awarded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

“UNL faculty and staff worked very hard during the past year preparing research proposals to compete for stimulus funding,” said Prem S. Paul, vice chancellor for research and economic development.

“In addition, these funds provide critical investments for new facilities in nanoscience and virology.”

Paul said he is concerned about the lack of stimulus funding next year but is hopeful UNL researchers will continue to succeed in winning new grants.

“We are planning to compete, and we plan to win,” he said. “The effort is there. The desire is there. We are hungry.”

More than $94 million of this year’s research funding came from federal sources such as the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health and Department of Defense. UNL’s federal funding for research grew more than 12 percent from $83.8 million in 2009.

This year, the university earned $40.2 million in total stimulus funding for sponsored programs, which not only includes external funds for research but also funding for public service activities, teaching and student services.

Total external funding for sponsored programs this year climbed 28 percent to a record $246.3 million, up from $192.3 million in fiscal year 2009.

UNL’s research funding has grown 180 percent since 2000, when funding was $49.6 million.

“The impressive growth in our research in the past decade is the result of hard work and innovative ideas of our faculty,” Paul said.

Major grants that contributed to the fiscal year’s sponsored programs funding increase included:

  • $10 million from the U.S. Department of Education to fund the nation’s only National Center for Research on Rural Education.
  • $8 million from the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Research Resources to fund a laboratory wing addition to the Ken Morrison Life Sciences Research Center, home to the Nebraska Center for Virology.
  • $6.9 million from the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the U.S. Department of Commerce to help fund construction of a new $14.8 million Nanoscience Metrology Facility.
  • $2.5 million from the National Science Foundation to expand ANDRILL, the Antarctic Geological Drilling Program. UNL is home to ANDRILL’s U.S. Science Management Office.

Paul said UNL’s success in gaining research funding has created public-private partnerships that will eventually benefit Innovation Campus, the university’s research and development campus being built on the former state fairgrounds.

“This success that our faculty are having is very satisfying,” he said. “As a result of that, we will have more opportunities to attract companies.

So taxpayers now pay tuition for their kids, research funding which then goes to benefit private companies in partnership with the University.

If the research is publicly funded, why doesn’t the taxpayer own the fruits of the research, at least a part of it.

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