UCCS researchers garner $10 million share of $878 million sponsored research funding

A student works in a chamber for atmospheric and orbital space simulation in the College of Engineering.  Photo by Joel Strayer
A student works in a chamber for atmospheric and orbital space simulation in the College of Engineering. Photo by Joel Strayer

University of Colorado faculty research merited $878.3 million in research awards during the 2014-15 fiscal year, based on preliminary figures, representing a near-record year for the four-campus system.

The total reflects an increase of 1.7 percent over the previous year’s $863.3 million. This year’s amount is topped by just one other in CU history, FY2010, when one-time federal stimulus dollars helped fuel research awards of $884.1 million.

Most sponsored research funding comes from federal agencies. Systemwide in 2014-15, CU earned $568.7 million in federal awards; $309.7 million in non-federal awards.

Three CU campuses saw overall research award increases this year. Final figures are expected later this summer.

Following are the totals in sponsored research funding at CU campuses, along with examples of the life-changing efforts such awards make possible:

University of Colorado Boulder: $425.6 million, including more than $7 million for a team, led by Alexis Templeton, Ph.D., associate professor of geological sciences, studying aspects of the origins, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe. The NASA grant boosts research focusing on “rock-powered life” – how rocky planets store chemical energy that, when released through the interaction of rocks and water, might power living systems on Earth and other planets.

University of Colorado Colorado Springs: $10.3 million, including $175,802 for the laboratory of Jonathan Ventura, Ph.D., assistant professor of Computer Science. The grant from the National Science Foundation supports the work of Ventura’s team, and international collaboration with Graz University of Technology in Austria, to develop faster methods of vision-based motion estimation.

University of Colorado Denver: $22.2 million, including a $1.25 million grant for the Business School aimed at teaching students principle-based ethics, emphasizing real-world applications that extend beyond campus and into the community. The Denver-based Daniels Fund’s Ethics Initiative also provided equal grants to the CU Law School at CU-Boulder and the UCCS College of Business.

University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus: $420.3 million, including a $10 million grant for the Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Depression Center, renamed in honor of the grantors. The Denver-based Helen K. and Arthur E. Johnson Foundation’s support bolstered an endowment that provides stable, perpetual funding for many mental-health program priorities at one of the nation’s premier research and clinical centers for mood and anxiety disorders.

Sponsored research funding from federal, state and local entities targets specific projects to advance research in laboratories and in the field. Research funding also helps pay for research-related capital improvements, scientific equipment, travel and salaries for research and support staff and student assistantships. CU cannot divert these dollars to fund non-research-related expenses such as utilities, compensation, student financial aid or grounds maintenance.

Much sponsored research funding is directed to departments and researchers with unique expertise, such as biotechnology and aerospace, which stimulates industry.

This article originally appeared in CU Connections

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