TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama’s contract and grant activity has increased 18 percent from the previous year, totaling $76 million—a significant step in furthering UA’s commitment to advancing its position as one of the premier research universities in the nation, said Dr. Joe Benson, vice president for research and vice provost.
“This is part of the mission of our institution,” Benson said. “Not only are our faculty dealing with a significant increase in the number of students they’re serving, they’re expanding what they’re doing in the research arena. And they’re also expanding their outreach efforts.”
Research funding has increased to $38.5 million—$7.3 million more than the previous year (a 23.5 percent boost), and a record for the University, Benson said. The second-highest total was slightly more than $34 million. Public service funding increased about $5.5 million to $25.7 million. The University also has received $5 million in stimulus funding.
Benson noted that the University has been proactive in trying to increase the number of faculty submitting grant proposals. This past year, that total rose from 300 to 379.
“We receive more funding than any other institution in the state from the National Science Foundation,” Benson said. He added that the same holds true for Department of Education funding, and that funds from the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense and other agencies also have increased. “We’re broadening our portfolio, largely due to the hard work of our faculty.”
To set the stage for future growth, the University recently instituted a post-doctoral support program aimed at attracting talented young faculty members to the University. “Our young faculty have been very productive, and we’re looking at efforts to help,” he said. “One of our challenges is to continue that upward trend.”
The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.