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 Tuesday, August 11, 2009 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter


Another record-breaking year for sponsored research
Stein Sture, Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

Our third consecutive record-breaking year for sponsored research revenues is an amazing accomplishment in which we can all take pride.

Late last week the University of Colorado at Boulder announced $339.7 in sponsored research in the fiscal year ending June 30, surpassing last year’s record by $60 million. The mark represents the largest single-year leap in research funding in CU-Boulder’s history.

What makes this especially exciting is that this funding is supporting our interdisciplinary research in areas of compelling societal need that can benefit all people: biotechnology for improved patient care, renewable and sustainable energy, geosciences and climate change, space science, and aerospace engineering.

Not only are these awards critical in the face of state funding reductions, they also help to support the work of many hundreds of graduate students and are tangible evidence of the many contributions that CU-Boulder community members make to society. This accomplishment is a testament to our world-class faculty in all our academic departments, centers and institutes and it is a tribute to our dedicated staff. Their ability to attract funding of this magnitude solidifies CU-Boulder as a national research leader.

Many people on our campus deserve credit for this record-setting funding: principal investigators, research administrators, and the hard-working people in the Office of Contracts and Grants and in the Graduate School.

When our research revenues are combined with the other two universities in the CU System, it totals a record $711 million, placing us in the top 10 of all pubic and private research universities in the nation.

At CU-Boulder, interdisciplinary work has been a cornerstone of our research and it serves as an important anchor in our strategic plan, Flagship 2030. Breaking the $300 million barrier is also clear evidence that the Colorado research diamond called for in Flagship 2030 in collaboration with our neighboring federal lab partners is an effective and productive model.

NASA was our top-funding agency with a record $75 million, an increase of $19 million over last year. In particular, the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) had a very successful and productive year. In recent years, CU-Boulder has been the number one NASA-funded public university in the world.

Other top funding agencies were the National Science Foundation ($58 million), the Department of Health and Human Services ($50 million), the Department of Commerce ($39.6 million), and the Department of Defense ($12.7 million).

Our continuing success in generating research revenues creates an exceptional environment for attracting outstanding faculty, which in turn brings to our campus some of the best graduate students in the country. Considering the role undergraduates play in research through our Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), these record-breaking funding levels extend benefits to the entire campus.

As Thomas Friedman noted in his book, The World is Flat, without basic university research there would be no Web browser, magnetic resonance imaging, supercomputers, global positioning technology, space exploration devices or fiber optics. University research not only improves the quality of life for us all, it also helps to educate the next generation of scientists and engineers. We can be proud of the role that the University of Colorado at Boulder plays in this arena.

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