U’s research funding surpasses old record – from last year

U By Dan Haugen and Paul Sand

university researchers have secured a record amount of funding for the fifth consecutive year, topping half a billion dollars in fiscal year 2002, which ended June 1.

Interim Vice President for Research David Hamilton said the increase in research funds – from $498.4 million in fiscal year 2001 to $526.6 million this year – can be credited to “an invigorated and highly qualified faculty.”

The Medical School, which secured $171.3 million from federal, state and private sources, was the University’s largest recipient.

There is a strong correlation between receiving federal funding and attracting state funding and support, Associate Medical School Dean Charles Moldow said.

“We are becoming a school with super new facilities in which the faculty can conduct research. That’s related to the ability of the state to support us,” he said.

Moldow also said the National Institutes of Health, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, was the second largest funding source for fiscal 2002 and is supportive of the school’s research.

“The NIH is disease-oriented and will support research aimed at helping people who have specific common and exotic illnesses. We are a clinic of excellence,” he said.

Moldow said the funding also helps the school draw new faculty members.

Seventy-six percent of the University’s research money this year, approximately $370.2 million, came from the federal government.

Hamilton said he hopes state lawmakers will notice the federal funding news. Next year’s state Legislature will receive the University’s proposal to overturn $61 million in funding requests that Gov. Jesse Ventura vetoed earlier this year.

Part of the University’s funding request is earmarked to build the Translational Research Facility. The $37 million building would serve as a place for Medical School faculty to translate research findings into applicable, real-world treatments.

“Legislators have to understand that if we are going to have continued increases like this, we need to have facilities like the Translational Research Facility,” Hamilton said.