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The California Energy Commission awarded UCI’s Institute for Transportation Studies, directed by civil & environmental engineering professor Stephen Ritchie (pictured), $11.2 million to develop and administer a natural-gas vehicle incentive program. Steve Zylius / UCI

UCI logs second-highest research funding total in fiscal 2016-17

$378 million in grants, contracts reflects strong support for campus mission

Irvine, Calif., Aug. 14, 2017 — University of California, Irvine researchers received more than $378 million in grants and contract funding for fiscal 2016-17, the second-highest total in campus history.

From federal and state agencies, leading foundations and companies, this funding – which follows a record year in 2015-16, when the university garnered $395 million – represents continued support for UCI’s top-ranked faculty, first-rate facilities, diverse and talented student body, and community-based programs.

“Innovation and discovery thrive with robust research grant funding,” said Pramod Khargonekar, vice chancellor for research. “Research is a central mission for the UCI faculty, students and staff, and these strong results indicate that UCI’s world-class research enterprise will continue to make important, productive contributions to the state, the nation and the world.”

The slightly lower total is due to decreased federal funding; nonfederal support increased this year. Khargonekar explained that a possible reason for the drop is that federal agencies did not receive their 2017 budgets until May 2017, eight months after the start of the fiscal year.

Although research funding touches every corner of campus, the greatest investment was in the area of health. The Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center brought in more than $24 million, and the School of Medicine logged $147.5 million in support, 39 percent of UCI’s 2016-17 total.

Other noteworthy funding sources and recipients:

  • Support from charitable foundations increased by 9 percent from the 2015-16 fiscal year, to $67 million. One highlight was a $2 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to Anthony James, UCI’s Donald Bren Professor of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics and Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, to generate sustainable, genetics-based approaches to controlling malaria parasite transmission in Africa by the vector mosquito Anopheles gambiae.
  • The UCI Center for Chemistry at the Space-Time Limit received another $5 million from the National Science Foundation in 2016 to continue its groundbreaking work in pushing the limits of interrogating chemistry on ultrafast and ultrasmall scales. CaSTL is one of eight NSF-funded “Centers for Chemical Innovation” that are designed to tackle grand challenges in the field.
  • The California Energy Commission awarded UCI’s Institute of Transportation Studies $11.2 million to develop and administer a natural-gas vehicle incentive program.
  • Building upon its strengths and reputation in critical theory and Korean studies, UCI launched the Center for Critical Korean Studies, which is funded by a 1 billion-won grant (about $850,000) from the Academy of Korean Studies. Its emphasis is on Korea-specific critical theory related to race, borders, ecology and current pop culture.
  • Adding to his $16 million in National Institutes of Health grants over the past 15 years, UCI cognitive sciences professor Gregory Hickok recently received just over $500,000 from the NIH supporting his research on how neural abnormalities affect speech and language in an area of the brain tied to stroke-induced aphasia.
  • Baruch Kuppermann, professor of ophthalmology and biomedical engineering, is using $10 million from jCyte to lead a phase 2b trial of the company’s retinitis pigmentosa therapy, jCell. Founded by UCI researchers Dr. Henry Klassen and Dr. Jing Yang, jCyte evolved from research conducted at the UCI School of Medicine and has been working to advance its RP treatment since 2012.

Additional data on UCI’s 2016-17 research funding:

  • 816 new awards were received during the fiscal year.
  • 456 UCI researchers received new awards.
  • 3 percent of support came from nonfederal sources.
  • The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, which encompasses the National Institutes of Health, provided $110 million, making it the largest single source of research funding at UCI.
  • $71 million in grant and corporate support was received for clinical trials.

For more information, see the Office of Research’s annual report at http://research.uci.edu/annualreport.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 30,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $5 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit www.uci.edu.

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