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ISU, U of I collect $650 million in research monies

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Iowa's two largest public universities collected more than $650 million in grants and contracts for research, education and other services last fiscal year, according to figures released Wednesday.

Drawing a record $382.2 million, the University of Iowa led the way in state, federal and corporate grants and contracts. The 2007 total marked a 4.8 percent increase over 2006. That's when the university collected $366.4 million, up 1.7 percent from the previous year.

Last fiscal year, which ended June 30, was the sixth consecutive year that the school passed the one-third-billion dollar research funding mark, the university said in a news release.

Meredith Hay, the university's vice president for research, said the figures reflect the outstanding achievements by faculty, staff and students.

"If there is one clear message that you go home with today, I hope it will be that there is more than just the numbers to be celebrated here today," she said in a statement.

The news out of Iowa State University wasn't as good, with the university experiencing a 2.8 percent decrease from 2006, collecting $272 million in contracts, grants and cooperative agreements.

John Brighton, ISU's vice president for research and development, said research funding is increasingly competitive.

"We must continue to be aggressive in the pursuit of research and funding and support of faculty in these activities," he said in a statement. "These funds help Iowa State accomplish its mission of creating, sharing and applying knowledge to make Iowa and the world a better place."

The state's other public university, the University of Northern Iowa, had not released its figures on external grants and contracts by early Wednesday afternoon, but were expected to have them available later in the day.

At the University of Iowa in fiscal 2007, the Department of Health and Human Services, including the National Institutes of Health, was the biggest source of federal funding. The agency accounted for $193.8 million in research grants.

Among others were the Department of Education, which increased funding more than 10 percent to $17.6 million. The Department of Defense posted a 73 percent increase at $13.1 million, while the National Science Foundation showed an 18.1 percent increase, also giving $13.1 million. NASA gave $7.9 million.

States kicked in $33.6 million, down 19.8 percent from the previous year. Industry accounted for $41.8 million, up more than 31 percent from the previous year, and private organizations gave $32.9 million, down 15.7 percent from 2006.

Miscellaneous federal funds accounted for $11 million, while other nonfederal funds equaled $17.4 million.

While federal investment from the National Science Foundation increased, research funding from the National Institutes of Health actually decreased in inflation-adjusted dollars over the past four years, said Derek H. Willard, associate vice president for research. He called it a difficult funding environment.

"Given that the largest portion of our research portfolio derives from this source, we are quite concerned," he said in a statement.

Since record-keeping on external funding began in 1967, the University of Iowa said it has collected $5.9 billion.

At Iowa State, $157.8 million was collected from federal agencies and $37.1 million from state, county and city agencies. Businesses and corporations gave $27.5 million, while foundations and associations gave $34.6 million. About $15 million came from other nonfederal sources, officials said.

The Department of Agriculture gave the school the most federal funding at $42 million, followed by the Department of Energy, which supports the Ames Laboratory on the campus, at $31.2 million. Other federal funding included $21.5 million from the Department of Education, $21 million from the National Science Foundation and $18 million from the Department of Health and Human Services.

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