UAB tops $500 million in research funding awards for first time

All academic areas saw increases in grant award monies from November 2017 through October 2018 as the university continues to grow its mission.

Research Funding totalsFor the first time in the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s history, the university has surpassed $500 million in research grants and awards for the 12-month period from Nov. 1, 2017, through Oct. 31, 2018, reaching $527,025,137.

Christopher Brown, Ph.D., vice president for Research, also reported that every academic school at UAB — 12 groups, including all schools, the College of Arts and Sciences, academic joint departments, and central administration — saw increases in funding awards over the same calendar-year period.

“Our research funding has been on an upward trajectory for several years in a row now, and this year was an acceleration of that trend,” Brown said. “This really speaks to our faculty, who are working harder and smarter to write winning proposals, and our administrative staff, who are working harder and more efficiently to process those proposals. We are aiming high and exceeding our goals, and it is truly a testament to the UAB research community’s great ideas, hard work and will to succeed.”

Chris Brown Headshot NewsChris Brown, Ph.D.The $527,025,137 in grant awards reported Oct. 31, 2018, was a $48,358,013 increase from Oct. 31, 2017 — an overall increase of 10.1 percent.

The School of Medicine and the Joint Health Sciences funding was up $20 million from last year, which was a 5.4 percent increase. Meanwhile, all other UAB entities combined to increase their award funding by $28 million, or 26.4 percent.

“I could not be prouder of the work of our faculty and administrative staff for their efforts during the past year and beyond in building our research portfolio to one of the largest in the country and now larger than all other universities combined in the state of Alabama,” said UAB president Ray L. Watts. “In securing more than $527 million in research award funding, UAB continues to be one of the most effective and high-powered institutions in the Southeast. These awards enable us to push boundaries across our research enterprise and to envision and achieve even greater things in all areas of our mission and across all disciplines.”

The School of Engineering was one of the biggest movers in increased award funding, from $7.5 million to more than 16.7 million — a 122 percent increase over the 12-month survey period. The School of Health Professions increased 48 percent from $13.2 million to $19.6 million. Central Administration awards increased 24.4 percent from $3.9 million to $4.8 million. The School of Public Health increased its funding by $5.8 million to more than $33 million, which was a 21.2 percent increase.

Two other groups with significant increases were the College of Arts and Sciences which increased from more than $20.8 million to almost $24.7 million (an 18.5 percent increase), and the School of Nursing from $10.4 million to almost $12 million (a 15.7 percent increase).

Other notable increases include the Academic Joint Departments from $82.6 million to $89 million (a 7.8 percent increase) and the School of Medicine from $290.4 million to $303.8 million (a 4.6 percent increase and the largest unit-based increase measured in dollars).

Submissions for awards were also up for the survey period, with 5,395 grant proposals submitted versus last year’s total of 5,142.

Of the funding awarded to UAB, 61 percent came from the National Institutes of Health. Ten percent was from industry, with much of it earmarked for clinical trials. Funding sources also included the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Education, Department of Energy, NASA, National Science Foundation, state and local governments, private industry, nonprofits, foundations, and other entities.