Research Funding Tops $600 Million
Two years after achieving a $500 million funding milestone and with the added boost of funding for research related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Utah reports $603 million in research funding for fiscal year 2020, which ended June 30.
“We would like to express our appreciation to our donors, investors, government officials and research partners,” said Vice President for Research Andy Weyrich. “Their support drives critical research projects in medicine, technology, mental health, economic growth, social injustice, racial disparities and much more.”
The milestone comes in a fiscal year that saw the U invited to join the prestigious Association of American Universities, a group of 65 top-tier research universities in the U.S. and Canada. The U, along with Dartmouth College and the University of California, Santa Cruz, joined the AAU in 2019 as peers with the top universities in the nation.
The research funding milestone also comes amid a global pandemic and a proliferation of research related to the medical, economic and social aspects of COVID-19. Following seed grants totaling $1.3 million, funded by the Office of the Vice President for Research in partnership with the Immunology, Inflammation and Infectious Disease (3i) Initiative, U researchers in various disciplines secured additional external funding, which contributed to passing the $600 million mark.
“Our researchers are at the forefront of addressing the impact COVID-19 has on our society,” Weyrich said. “We’ve been awarded a significant number of research grants across multiple disciplines to support COVID research, including the social, psychological and economic impacts the virus has on our global community.”
UTAH JOINS THE A.A.U.
"It is difficult to overstate the importance of AAU Membership. This elevates the U to an exceptional category of peer institutions."
- Dean Peter Trapa
The University of Utah is one of the newest members of the prestigious Association of American Universities, which for more than 100 years has recognized the most outstanding academic institutions in the nation.
Mary Sue Coleman, president of the Association of American Universities (AAU), announced Wednesday that University of Utah President Ruth V. Watkins has accepted an invitation to join the association, along with the University of California, Santa Cruz and Dartmouth College. The three new members bring the number of AAU institutions to 65.
AAU invitations are infrequent; this year’s invitations are the first since 2012.
“AAU’s membership is limited to institutions at the forefront of scientific inquiry and educational excellence,” said Coleman. “These world-class institutions are a welcome addition, and we look forward to working with them as we continue to shape policy for higher education, science, and innovation.” - Mary Sue Coleman
About the AAU
The AAU formed in 1900 to promote and raise standards for university research and education. Today its mission is to “provide a forum for the development and implementation of institutional and national policies promoting strong programs of academic research and scholarship and undergraduate, graduate and professional education.”
A current list of member institutions can be found here. The membership criteria are based on a university’s research funding (the U reached a milestone of $547 million in research funding in FY2019); the proportion of faculty elected to the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine; the impact of research and scholarship; and student outcomes. The U has 21 National Academies members, with some elected to more than one academy.
An AAU committee periodically reviews universities and recommends them to the full association for membership, where a three-fourths vote is required to confirm the invitation.
Leaders of AAU member universities meet to discuss common challenges and future directions in higher education. The U’s leaders will now join those meetings, which include the leaders of all the top 10 and 56 of the top 100 universities in the United States.
“We already knew that the U was one of the jewels of Utah and of the Intermountain West. This invitation shows that we are one of the jewels of the entire nation.” - H. David Burton
U on the rise
In FY2019 the U celebrated a historic high of $547 million in sponsored project funding, covering a wide range of research activities. These prestigious awards from organizations such as the U.S. Department of Energy, National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation are supporting work in geothermal energy, cross-cutting, interdisciplinary approaches to research that challenge existing paradigms and effects of cannabinoids on pain management.
They also are funding educational research programs with significant community engagement, such as the U’s STEM Ambassador Program and the Genetic Science Learning Center’s participation in the All of Us Research Program.
“AAU is a confirmation of the quality and caliber of our faculty and the innovative work they are doing to advance knowledge and address grand societal challenges. Our students and our community will be the ultimate beneficiaries of these endeavors. " - President Ruth Watkins
On Nov. 4, 2019, the U announced a $150 million gift, the largest single-project donation in its history, to establish the Huntsman Mental Health Institute. These gifts and awards are in addition to the ongoing support of the U from the Utah State Legislature.
This fall the university welcomed its most academically prepared class of first-year students. The freshman cohort includes 4,249 students boasting an impressive 3.66 average high school GPA and an average ACT composite score of 25.8. The incoming class also brings more diversity to campus with both a 54% increase in international students and more bilingual students than the previous year’s freshman class. Among our freshmen who are U.S. citizens, 30% are students of color.
The U’s focus on student success has led to an increased six-year graduation rate, which now sits at 70%—well above the national average for four-year schools. The rate has jumped 19 percentage points over the past decade, making it one of only two public higher education research institutions to achieve this success.
U.S. News & World Report has released their 2019-2020 National University Rankings. The University of Utah is now ranked No. 1 in Utah, No. 104 nationally, and No. 44 nationally among public universities.
The College of Science fared even better. National rankings for science departments at public universities put Biology at No. 27, Chemistry at No. 18, Mathematics at No. 16 and Physics & Astronomy at No. 37. An aggregate of these rankings puts the College of Science at No. 46 nationally and No. 27 nationally among public universities.
There are many factors used to determine a school’s final ranking in the U.S. News & World Report but one factor that is not considered is cost. When cost is factored, there are few universities that challenge the University of Utah.
U.S. News & World Report does not specifically rank Science Colleges. The college rankings published here are an aggregate of their national department rankings.
May 7-15, 2020 - Survey
Input from students, faculty, and staff is solicited.
- faculty and staff survey
- student engagement through SACs
May 22, 2020 - Summary
May 29, 2020 - Draft
Draft Strategic Plan available to stakeholders (UNID required)
May 29-June 5, 2020 - Comments
Comment phase for Draft Strategic Plan
June 2020 - Update
- Summary of comments available to stakeholders
- Preliminary Strategic Plan available to stakeholders
July, 2020 - Finalize
- Presentation to College Executive Committee for approval
- Strategic Plan finalized