CU-Boulder Sponsored Research Awards Top $200 Million For The First Time

Published: Aug. 23, 1999

The University of Colorado at Boulder received more than $204 million in sponsored research awards for the 1998-99 fiscal year, a 12.4 percent increase over last year and the first time the campus has topped the $200 million mark.

Of the 1,596 grant proposals made in 1998-99, about half were winners, despite increasing competition for funds by universities and other research institutions across the nation.

"I think the fact that about 50 percent of CU-Boulder’s proposals were funded is astounding, given the current fiscal climate," said Larry Nelson, director of the CU-Boulder Office of Contracts and Grants. "The faculty certainly deserve kudos for a terrific year."

CU-Boulder generated $182 million in sponsored research in 1997-98, the previous campus high for sponsored research.

"One reason we have been so successful is our strong tradition of interdisciplinary research in our centers, institutes and general collaboration across the campus that is required to solve the large, complex problems in the world today," said Graduate School Dean Carol Lynch. "From an economic standpoint, the bottom line is that our tremendous success creates more high-paying jobs that positively impact the local and state economy."

About 90 percent of the money was awarded directly or indirectly by federal agencies, Nelson said. The rest came from foundations, corporations, private and non-profit agencies, institutes and the state of Colorado.

"I’m delighted to see our campus top the $200 million mark in sponsored research dollars, which I consider a milestone," said CU-Boulder Chancellor Richard L. Byyny. "This is just one more indicator of the top quality and talents of the committed faculty we have teaching our students."

The primary federal agencies granting money to CU-Boulder in 1997-98 include NASA and two affiliates, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Space Telescope Science Institute, which awarded campus researchers more than $61 million. CU also received $33 million from the National Science Foundation, $27.4 million from the Department of Commerce and $24.4 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

In CU-Boulder's College of Arts and Sciences, the molecular, cellular and developmental biology department received about $11.7 million and the chemistry and biochemistry department received $10.7 million. Both departments traditionally rank among the top academically in the nation.

The College of Engineering and Applied Science received about $30 million. Within the college, the aerospace engineering department received about $8 million and civil, environmental and architectural engineering received about $5.3 million.

About $5.5 million of CU-Boulder's sponsored research came from industry and an additional $11.5 million came from miscellaneous sources such as foundations and associations.

Undergraduate and graduate students play a key role in conducting research and analyzing data from sponsored research projects, said Byyny. He noted CU-Boulder’s Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program has provided nearly $2 million in stipends to more than 2,000 undergraduates since 1986, allowing them to work closely with faculty on projects ranging from genetics and archaeology to English literature and engineering.

"Hands-on research by students working side-by-side with world-class faculty on the frontiers of knowledge provides invaluable experience, preparing the students for success in the workforce during the next millennium," he said.

Sponsored research programs that involve both faculty and students are an integral part of the Total Learning Environment, said Byyny. TLE includes learning innovations to prepare students for the future and the application of CU's vast resources to Colorado communities.