Annual awards to fund research and education at the University of Utah have exceeded $100 million for the second straight year.
Faculty, student and other awards for fiscal year 1987-88, principally from sources outside Utah, totaled more than $98 million, while the school's $3 million in Research Institute awards pushed the amount over the $100 million mark."I'm pleased we were able to repeat last year's level of activity," said Dr. James J. Brophy, vice president for research. "Competition among universities has been especially intense for federal funding . . . ."
Brophy equates the funding level to the quality of the university's faculty and students and to the amount of overhead reimbursement the Legislature allows the school to retain and reinvest in research programs.
The Legislature decided three years ago to let state colleges keep a percentage of the reimbursement they receive from the federal government and foundations for indirect research costs, such as heat and lighting. Because the state pays those costs, state schools used to give most of the money to the state. Now, however, schools are allowed to keep 75 percent of the reimbursement.
"Reinvesting the reimbursement in our research programs is clearly paying off," said Brophy.
University research has resulted in the creation of more than 50 new companies in the state over the past 25 years. The companies have provided an additional 4,500 jobs and contributed $20 million to state and local taxes.
In the university's Research Park, for example, 57 companies employ 4,000 people with a $108 million annual payroll.
To continue receiving grants and awards, the school must retain exceptional faculty, Brophy said. Out of the 1,400 full-time faculty employed at the university, about 500 write proposals requesting funding. Forty percent of the awards are the result of proposals written by 75 faculty members.
"Those 75 faculty are constantly made offers from other universities," said Brophy. "If we want to maintain our stature as a research institution and to continue to receive economic and humanitarian benefits, we must retain those faculty members."
The medical school wins most of the awards, followed by the Colleges of Science, Engineering, Pharmacy, and Mines and Earth Sciences.