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U-M research activity tops expectations

Research expenditures at U-M made the largest percentage increase in more than 10 years in fiscal year 2002, bringing the total to nearly $656 million.

“Michigan’s success in attracting research investment benefits the University, the community and the state of Michigan,” President Mary Sue Coleman says. “Our outstanding research performance attracts faculty of the highest quality and provides our students with a rich learning environment. Our prominence as the nation’s leading research university supports the state’s economic infrastructure and serves as a powerful magnet to new ventures.”

The 10.8 percent increase in 2001-02 resulted from growth in nearly all major areas of research. It was led by a 17 percent boost in funding from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which includes the National Institutes of Health. HHS accounts for nearly half of the sponsored program funding at U-M and is the primary fuel for the expansion of life sciences research. In all, federal funding rose 12.4 percent and non-federal support, excluding U-M contributions, increased by 9.2 percent.

This marks the 20th consecutive year of research increases at the University. In the last five years, research expenditures have increased by 43.1 percent, from more than $458 million to nearly $656 million.

“Michigan’s success is the outgrowth of our institutional fabric,” says Fawwaz Ulaby, vice president for research. “This unprecedented increase is a tribute to the faculty’s creativity in generating exciting ideas and novel solutions to research problems; to the graduate students, post-docs and other members of the research community who carry out so much of the daily work involved in the research projects; and to the administrative staff throughout the University who provide the support infrastructure that makes all the research possible.”

Research funding represents support from a combination of sponsors, including all areas of government, private foundations and corporations. In addition, the University allocates substantial funding of its own for research, a total of more than $100 million in fiscal 2002, a 6 percent increase. University support seeds new research projects, promotes novel and hard-to-fund areas of scholarship, and helps build the advanced infrastructure that sustains leading-edge research.

In a time of constrained state resources, the growth in research funds is highly beneficial to University students. Marvin G. Parnes, associate vice president for research and executive director of research administration, notes the broad impact.

“Research support is essential not only to maintaining the growth in research activity, but, combined with other resources, to supporting state-of-the-art facilities for undergraduate and graduate student learning, and financing a large portion of our graduate students’ tuition and living expenses,” Parnes says.
Ulaby will make a complete report to the Regents and the University community on the status of research at U-M at a fall Regents meeting.

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