|UND surpasses $100 million in sponsored program awards|
Research at the University of North Dakota generated record levels of external awards and expenditures for fiscal year 2007. Sponsored program awards reached the level of $100.2 million as of June 30, with an estimated additional $600,000 yet to be tabulated. UND’s Strategic Plan II, Building on Excellence, set as a goal an increase in externally supported research and development and other externally funded activity to the level of $100 million annually by 2007.
“This threshold is a very important one, in that it moves us solidly into a group of leading doctoral research institutions in the country. It is also gratifying that this goal was achieved as a direct result of some very thorough strategic consideration of areas of opportunity and where a university of our caliber should be in the future,” said UND President Charles Kupchella.
“Especially pleasing to me personally was to see faculty respond to the call to become more entrepreneurial in seeking funding for their work across all of the University’s disciplines. It is even more gratifying to know that a an ever greater percentage of our students are being taught by faculty who are practicing their disciplines at a level that earns and deserves external validation and support. It, of course, gives students opportunities themselves to be engaged in cutting-edge research that is now the standard of scholarship at the University of North Dakota."
Research Grant and Contract awards reached an all-time high of $89.2 million, and sponsored program expenditures also set a record at $86.0 million. Unrestricted and other awards, such as faculty research seed money and graduate tuition waivers, brought the extramural support above the $100 million mark. At the end of fiscal year 2007, the University’s research portfolio included $317 million in total ongoing and committed accounts. University researchers submitted a near-record 967 proposals to external agencies (seven less than the record number submitted in FY 2006) requesting some $350 million during the year. UND received a record 729 awards.
The Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) led UND units in awards received with record funding of $37.2 million, an increase of 15 percent from the $32.3 million received in FY06. Other leading UND units include the School of Medicine and Health Sciences with $16.7 million of awards received, followed by the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences at $10.9 million.
The top three UND units in annual research expenditures include the EERC at $27.0 million, the School of Medicine and Health Sciences at $18.9 million, and the Northern Great Plains Center for People and the Environment at $6.3 million.
The economic impact of UND research to the city and state is significant. In FY 2006, for example, research expenditures resulted in the creation of more than 1,500 jobs, adding an additional $162 million to the regional economy, $6 million in state and local taxes, and $25 million in federal taxes. The impact of FY 2007, when calculated, is expected to be even greater based on the increased level of awards and expenditures. The commercialization of inventions and technologies stemming from UND research will have an additional economic impact. UND's overall economic impact is about $1 billion, according to the North Dakota University System.
Dr. Gary Johnson, UND Interim Vice President for Research, noted that “the credit for reaching the sponsored program awards goal is a tremendous tribute to our faculty and staff who have embraced an enhanced research culture at UND. Awards and expenditures are up some 40 percent in the last five years. Research generated revenue from external sources has grown to a level such that it now accounts for a larger proportion of UND annual revenue than state appropriations. In FY 2006, grants and contracts accounted for 28 percent of the revenue. The FY 2007 numbers are not yet available, but we expect that trend to continue. The University’s main focus at this point in our growth as a research institution is to respond to the success of our researchers by providing faculty with the support, encouragement and tools they need to get the job done.”