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Annual Research Funding at
UC San Diego Surges Past Billion-Dollar Mark

July 6 , 2010

By Paul K. Mueller

graphic of research funding
Annual research funding for UC San Diego totaled more than $1,043,000,000 for the fiscal year ending June 30 – an impressive milestone that coincides with the university’s 50th anniversary this year.

Research funding at the University of California, San Diego surpassed $1 billion for the first time in the university’s 50-year history, the Office of Research Affairs has announced.

Total UC San Diego research funding for the fiscal year which ended on June 30 is more than $1,043,000,000. That number includes $160 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (federal stimulus) funding the university was awarded over the same period.

Chancellor Marye Anne Fox said that the record-setting funding is especially gratifying during the university’s anniversary year. “It’s a remarkable achievement for the campus,” she said. “It’s wonderful to add this accomplishment to our celebration of UC San Diego’s 50th anniversary.”

The funding supports research in medicine, the sciences, the arts, oceanography and other fields – research that UC San Diego is noted for translating into innovations, medical breakthroughs, jobs and new businesses in San Diego and California.

“This significant milestone reflects the dedicated effort of researchers in every discipline across campus. It demonstrates not only that we compete very aggressively for available funding, but also that our research projects continue to earn the confidence of federal, state and other funding agencies,” said Arthur B. Ellis, vice chancellor for research. “The benefits of UC San Diego research are improving lives in San Diego, the state of California, and the nation.”

Among the hundreds of projects contributing to the billion-dollar year of research funding, several demonstrate the broad scope and diverse avenues of study of UC San Diego’s scholars and scientists:

  • In an effort to plug gaps of knowledge about key ocean processes, scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography were awarded nearly $1 million by the National Science Foundation to develop a new breed of ocean-probing instruments. Researchers Jules Jaffe and Peter Franks are leading an effort to design and deploy autonomous underwater explorers, or AUEs, which will trace fine details of fundamental oceanographic mechanisms that are vital to tiny marine inhabitants.

  • Two scientists at the School of Medicine each received $1.3 million grants from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine for stem-cell research. Dong-Er Zhang at the Moores UCSD Cancer Center will work to identify new approaches that could increase the production of therapeutically useful blood cells from both human embryonic stem cells and from induced pluripotent stem cells derived from the patients themselves. Kun-Liang Guan will investigate the function of a specific molecule in human embryonic stem cells, and how it might be better regulated to improve the production of stem cells for therapeutic use.

  • The San Diego Supercomputer Center at UC San Diego won a five-year, $20 million grant from the National Science Foundation to build and operate a powerful supercomputer that will help make sense of the avalanche of data generated by the digital devices of our era. The unique and innovative supercomputer will employ a vast amount of flash memory to help speed solutions now hamstrung by slower-spinning disk technology.

  • The National Center for Research Resources, part of the National Institutes of Health, awarded UC San Diego more than $14 million to build a centralized sanitation facility for biomedical equipment on campus – a more modern, energy-efficient facility expected to save millions of gallons of water and more than half a million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. 

  • The university also received $11 million in incentives from California’s Self-Generation Incentive Program to install an innovative fuel-cell energy generation and storage system -- the largest amount ever awarded by the California Public Utilities Commission for a renewable-energy project and the nation’s first advanced energy-storage project to receive state incentive funds.

Typically, about 70 percent of funding for research supports the salaries of faculty, staff and students conducting that research, Ellis said, and many projects evolve into larger endeavors and generate discoveries, inventions, patents and licensing agreements that can help create additional jobs.

“Along with this impressive funding comes an institutional obligation to show taxpayers a good return on their investment,” said Ellis. “As a public institution, we expect our research enterprise to leverage these new resources in many ways to benefit our fellow citizens.”



Media contact:
Paul K. Mueller, 858-534-8564 or pkmueller@ucsd.edu


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