Crystal Cove State Park’s Pelican Point beach in Newport Beach, California.
With NASA funding, Brett Sanders, UCI professor of civil and environmental engineering, will pursue new tools and techniques for measuring the impact of sea level rise on beaches and dunes, including at Crystal Cove State Park’s Pelican Point (pictured here), in Newport Beach. Brett Sanders / UCI

Irvine, Calif., Aug. 25, 2022 — From monitoring sandy beaches to gauge the effects of sea-level rise to holding clinical trials for potentially lifesaving cancer treatments, scholars, scientists and physicians at the University of California, Irvine are blazing new paths to help change the world. And their impact keeps growing. In fiscal 2021-22, which ended June 30, UCI received the second-most research funding in campus history: $580 million in grants and contracts.

Awards from federal and state agencies, leading foundations and forward-thinking companies have increased by more than $213 million since 2018, reflecting continued strong support for UCI’s top-ranked faculty, first-rate facilities, diverse and talented student body, and community-based programs.

This last fiscal year marks another record for UCI research when COVID-19 emergency relief funding ($6 million) from the U.S. Department of Education is not included. In 2020-21, UCI received $591 million, of which more than $88 million came in the form of these COVID-19 grants.

“This research funding milestone confirms UCI’s ascent among its Association of American Universities peers as a world-class research university. Our faculty, students and staff are truly excelling in an environment of tremendous competition for financial support of research and innovation,” said Pramod Khargonekar, UCI vice chancellor for research. “These results indicate that UCI’s preeminent research enterprise will make even greater and more productive contributions to the state, the nation and the world.”

The largest single source of research funding at UCI remains the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which encompasses the National Institutes of Health, accounting for $195 million in fiscal 2021-22. Among other federal sources, the National Science Foundation provided $53 million. The state of California contributed $37 million.

Profit-making entities awarded UCI $136 million, a $25 million gain over 2020-21. Grants from philanthropic foundations and charitable trusts reached $77 million. Overall, 48 percent of research support came from nongovernmental entities. 

Promoting new cures

More than $338 million of all UCI research funding in fiscal 2021-22 was for biomedical and health sciences clinical work across campus.

Also continuing to increase was total financial backing for clinical trials in all health science areas to advance new treatments for debilitating diseases: $97 million. One thriving site of this is UCI’s Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center – Orange County’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center. Its researchers brought in more than $80 million for clinical studies and trials this past fiscal year.

in 2021-22 include:

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities and is ranked among the nation’s top 10 public universities by U.S. News & World Report. The campus has produced five Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 36,000 students and offers 224 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 $7 billion annually to the local economy and $8 billion statewide. For more on UCI, visit

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