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UMass research spending breaks $500 million mark

BOSTON -- Research expenditures at the University of Massachusetts reached $536 million in Fiscal Year 2010, topping the $500 million mark for the first time in the school's history, President Jack M. Wilson announced today.

Research spending increased by $47 million, rising from $489 million in Fiscal Year 2009 to $536 million in Fiscal Year 2010. The additional $47 million represented a 9.5 percent increase in research expenditures over the previous year. The research numbers, preliminary at this point, will be submitted to the National Science Foundation later this month.

"Part of what makes the University of Massachusetts a world-class university is the sustained effort we have made in the past decade to increase research funding throughout all five of our campuses," said President Wilson.  "The research work of our faculty is 'rocket fuel' for the state's innovation economy.  It is saving lives, cleaning the environment and stoking economic development in Massachusetts. Our success in this area is the result of the hard work of the faculty, the leadership of the Chancellors and their teams, and the encouragement and guidance we have received from our Board of Trustees."

With 9.5 percent growth in research spending, total research expenditures at the University of Massachusetts have been growing at a rate that exceeds the national average.  Research expenditures at UMass have risen from $320 million in Fiscal Year 2003 to $536 million in Fiscal Year 2010.

"Research activity at the University of Massachusetts has grown sharply over the past several years, and the Commonwealth and all of its citizens benefit from it," said President Wilson.  "The funding we have received creates new companies and new jobs in the state.  It provides students with the kind of skills they need to be competitive in the workforce - and most of those students will stay here in Massachusetts to put that knowledge to work in the Commonwealth."

Most of the research that takes place on UMass campuses is externally funded, with the federal government providing research funding through the National Institutes for Health, the National Science Foundation and other agencies.

According to the new report, preliminary Fiscal Year 2010 research expenditures by campus were:

  • Amherst, $169 million
  • Boston, $51.3 million
  • Dartmouth, $26 million
  • Lowell, $57.4 million
  • Worcester, $232 million

The report was released as the Committee on Science, Technology and Research of the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees met in Boston.

Trustee Philip W. Johnston, who chairs the Science, Technology and Research panel, described the surpassing of $500 million as a major accomplishment.

"Nationally and internationally, the University of Massachusetts is acknowledged as a major player in the world of research and innovation. It is clear that the University is seeing increased recognition for its work from major funders, including the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. The research that each of our five campuses is conducting has a profoundly positive effect on the state, the nation and the world," Johnston said.

James J. Karam, acting Chairman of the UMass Board of Trustees, said the University's research portfolio is of particular importance because, "Our research activity is distributed across the state, which means that innovation and discovery, and the economic benefits that flow from this work, reaches every corner of the Commonwealth."

There is a wide variety of research taking place throughout the UMass system.  Examples of research on the campuses during Fiscal Year 2010 include:

  • In Amherst, microbiologist Dr. Derek Lovley and colleagues were awarded an initial $1 million research grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop clean, highly efficient new technology for converting carbon dioxide into transportation fuels through a process known as microbial electrosynthesis (ME). Dr. Raymond Bradley, Director of the Climate System Research Center, received $633,350 in funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to support research of climate system variability and global change issues.
  • In Boston, under the work of associate professor Dr. Adán Colón-Carmona, the Comprehensive Care Partnership Program between UMass Boston and Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center received a five-year, $13.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to help lessen the cancer diagnosis disparities of minorities. In addition, the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) was awarded a five-year, $16.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The grant, which is the largest in UMass Boston history, will be used to create a viable employment services package for those with disabilities; partner with state vocational rehabilitation agencies to implement; and then study impact, costs, and customer experiences.
  • In Dartmouth, the National Science Foundation and Air Force Office of Scientific Research awarded $400,000 to physics professor Dr. Robert Fisher to establish a cutting-edge supercomputing center on campus to tackle complex problems in astrophysics, applied mathematics, oceanography, and materials science. In October 2009, the University's Kaput Center for Research and Innovation in STEM Education received two three-year National Science Foundation grants totaling $2.2 million to develop new strategies focused on long-term research and innovation programs to transform the way elementary school students learn mathematics with the most effective technologies. 
  • In Lowell, five professors from the Center for Network and Information Security (CNIS) received more than $1.3 million in grants from the National Science Foundation to help support projects designed to enhance wireless connectivity and computer science education and help protect our national cyber infrastructure. Dr. Margaret Quinn of the school's Work Environment Department, partnering with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health's Occupational Health Surveillance Program, received a four-year, $1.8 million grant from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to promote health and safety in the home-care industry. 
  • In Worcester, professor of orthopedics and physical rehabilitation Dr. Patricia D. Franklin and her colleagues received a $12 million grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to improve joint replacement surgery outcomes. The University of Massachusetts Medical School will use this funding to establish a nationwide registry of 33,000 patients who have had total joint replacements to assess the success and failure of the surgery. Dr. Phillip D. Zamore, professor of biochemistry and molecular pharmacology, was awarded a five-year extension of his research funding from the National Institute of Health through the MERIT Award program. Presented to investigators who are highly regarded in their field and have excellent records of scientific productivity, the MERIT Award will provide nearly $3 million in support of Dr. Zamore's research into understanding the mechanism of RNA interference.

The University's research-expenditure accomplishment comes on the heels of the recent announcement that UMass is now the eighth-ranked university in the nation in terms of income derived from the licensing of faculty discoveries and products.  According to the Association of University Technology Managers, the University of Massachusetts, with more than $71 million in income generated in 2009, was the top Massachusetts university in this ranking.  Annual intellectual property income has risen from $20 million in Fiscal Year 2003 to $71 million during Fiscal Year 2009.

Contact: Robert P. Connolly, 617-287-7073

 

2/9/11

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Communications Staff Directory

Robert P. Connolly
Vice President for Strategic Communications and University Spokesperson
617.287.7073 (office)
rconnolly@umassp.edu

Ann Scales
Director of Communications
617.287.4084 (office)
ascales@umassp.edu

JoAnn Conley
Communications Coordinator/Writer
617.287.5538
jconley@umassp.edu

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