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CU receives a record $711 million in sponsored research funding in 2008-09

Dr. Peter Buttrick is the head of the Division of Cardiology at UC Denver.
Dr. Peter Buttrick is the head of the Division of Cardiology at UC Denver.

University of Colorado researchers across four campuses received more than $711 million in sponsored research funding in fiscal year 2008-09, a record high that reaffirms the university's position as one of the top public research universities in the United States.

Total sponsored research dollars received by CU's four campuses in 2008-09 exceeds the record-setting $661 million the CU system received in fiscal year 2007-08, according to preliminary data provided by the university's institutional research officials.

Sponsored research funding stems from contracts and grants awarded to the university primarily by federal, state or local government agencies; state, national or international private foundations; private corporations; or individual donors from Colorado and elsewhere.

"CU faculty researchers are among the top in the United States, and their success this year will allow them to build on their work in areas of compelling state and national need, such as health care and biosciences, renewable and sustainable energy, geosciences and aerospace engineering," said CU President Bruce D. Benson. "The funding they bring in, mostly from the federal government, also has a significant positive multiplier effect on Colorado's economy."

While such funding is important to public research universities, funding entities earmark it for specific projects and research, and the university cannot apply it to a general fund to pay for operating costs such as faculty and staff salaries, technology, utilities and capital improvements. As such, general funding from the state continues to be an important source of support for the university.

In fiscal year 2008-09, the University of Colorado at Boulder received total sponsored research funding of $340 million; the University of Colorado Denver received $363 million; and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs received $8.7 million.

Federal agencies that awarded grants and contracts to CU campuses over the period include the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Veterans Administration, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the U.S. Department of Defense.

CU researchers also received sponsored research funding from the state, local governments, international agencies and foundations, private companies developing new technologies and health care treatments, and individual donors.

Recent examples of sponsored research contributions to CU campuses include:

  • A $42 million NASA contract to the University of Colorado at Boulder to develop a sophisticated instrument that will orbit Earth to monitor changes in the sun's radiation and help evaluate climate change.
    • A $2 million grant from the Colorado Health Foundation to expand programs and recruit top faculty at the University of Colorado Denver School of Public Health, which was collaboratively formed by UC Denver, Colorado State University and the University of Northern Colorado.
    • A $1.9 million grant from Coloradans Martha and Tom Dillenberg, who were so impressed with the care they received from School of Medicine professor Peter Buttrick, MD, that they wanted to support his cardiology research. Buttrick heads the school's cardiology division and treats patients at University of Colorado Hospital.
    • A $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to support a University of Colorado at Colorado Springs project to assist students with math learning disabilities. UCCS Associate Professor Lindy Crawford will oversee the three-year project.

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