The University of Utah College of Pharmacy this year received the third largest Biomedical Research Support Award of the 26 pharmacy schools eligible for the federal research bonus money.

The Utah school moved up two spots in the rankings since last year. It is one of only eight schools that demonstrated an increase in grant support the past year.The support award, which totals nearly $70,000 this year, is among the most useful the school can receive because it is discretionary money - the school has flexibility in how it can be used. Officials said it's particularly valuable as start-up funding for new faculty members whose research has not yet progressed to the point where they can apply for major grants.

While the actual awards are not large, "they provide a reasonable tool to gauge the comparative success of an institution's efforts to secure highly competitive external research funding," said Dr. Harold H. Wolf, dean of the College of Pharmacy.

An additional 48 schools did not receive enough research funds (a base of more than $200,000) to be eligible for the extra award.

The local college's external or nonstate funding for the past fiscal year totaled $6 million.