UNMC brings in record $115.1 million in research funding

Jennifer Larsen, M.D.

Jennifer Larsen, M.D.

Researchers at the University of Nebraska Medical Center brought in a record total of $115.1 million during the 2015-16 academic year.

The $115.1 million total marked the first time UNMC has surpassed $100 million in research grants and contracts without including funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), a federal stimulus package enacted to respond to the Great Recession.

In fact, the 2015-16 total even surpassed the highest total funding received during the ARRA funding period, which was $115 million, said Jennifer Larsen, M.D., vice chancellor for research.

Dr. Larsen said many factors contributed to the increase:

  • Recruitment of new faculty, which resulted in new awards by early career scientists;
  • An increased effort to diversify UNMC's funding through greater recruitment to clinical trials;
  • Building new collaborative research partnerships;
  • Strong contributions from our community to build outstanding facilities that provide places for research to be conducted and attract nationally recognized researchers; and
  • Working closely with the National Strategic Research Institute to attract more Department of Defense research funding.

UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., joined Dr. Larsen in praising the outstanding work of the researchers whose dedication, excellence and effort made the funding milestone possible.

"That is what distinguishes academic medicine, in the United States and around the world, that we not only provide great quality care and educate the next generation, but we're figuring out what causes diseases, how to prevent them, how to detect disease in the early stages, and how to turn our research into effective clinical practice,” Dr. Gold said. “We are so grateful for all of the hard work and dedication that makes this possible."

The 2015-16 total represents an increase of 23 percent from the previous fiscal year, which was again the highest one-year change outside of ARRA funding years. ARRA funding expired in 2015.

Dr. Larsen said all categories of awards increased:

  • Federal awards by 20 percent;
  • Commercial sources by 24 percent;
  • State sources by 36 percent; and
  • Other sources — which includes foundations, gifts and subcontracts from federal awards received by other institutions — by 31 percent.

As in previous years, the majority of the funding – 64 percent – came from federal funding sources, predominantly the National Institutes of Health.

Both Dr. Gold and Dr. Larsen see the new record as a jumping-off point for UNMC’s next research goal – $200 million.

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