UCSB Rakes in Cash for Research

Sets Record with Help from Federal Stimulus Funds

UC Santa Barbara had a record-breaking 2009-10 fiscal year when it came to research funding, school officials announced Thursday. A total of $222 million was received from external sources — including federal and state agencies, corporations, and nonprofits — which is a 28 percent jump over last year.

According to a university spokesperson, the increase in extramural funding has mainly to do with a spike in grant-giving from national agencies. UCSB received $192 million in federal cash this fiscal year, including $67 million from the National Science Foundation. Both figures represent about a 30 percent increase from the 2008-09 fiscal year.

Funding totals by year

“We take great pride in the achievements of our faculty, researchers, staff, and students, who together are advancing the frontiers of knowledge and making important contributions to our global society,” said Chancellor Henry T. Yang in a press release.

“I congratulate all of our colleagues on this year’s record level of research funding. Such support is the lifeblood of a premier research university. The dramatic rise in our campus’s research awards, especially from federal research agencies, is a testament to the excellence and originality of the exciting research and creative activity at UC Santa Barbara.”

Michael Witherell, UCSB’s vice chancellor for research, said the unprecedented amount of dough rolling into the university can be traced to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). It helped contribute $40 million to the grand total.

The largest single grant was a $15.7 million package awarded to the Institute for Energy Efficiency to establish the Center for Energy-Efficient Materials. The facility is working to develop three promising energy technologies: photovoltaics, thermoelectrics, and solid-state lighting.

Grant totals by sponsor type

Other ARRA funds awarded included $3.8 million to Computer Science, $3.6 million to Electrical and Computer Engineering, $2.1 million to Terahertz Science and Technology, $1.7 million to the Institute for Crustal Studies, and $1.6 million to the Department of Physics.

A handful of UCSB assistant professors also did well for themselves when it came to competing for research funding. In 2009-10, assistant professors in science and engineering departments received seven Faculty Early Career Development awards from the National Science Foundation.

Over the past six years, the campus spokesperson said, a larger percentage of UCSB assistant professors in science and engineering fields have won the NSF awards than those from any university in the country except for MIT.

“I am particularly impressed at how well the assistant professors here are competing for the funding that establishes their research programs,” Witherell said. “This indicates that the national impact of UCSB research will continue to grow for the foreseeable future.”


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