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UW Sets Record for External Research Funding

Trevor T. Trujillo, Townsquare Media

Faculty members at the University of Wyoming received a record $86 million in external funding in the 2012 fiscal year.

Vice President for Research and Economic Development Bill Gern says the accomplishment is particularly noteworthy in light of federal research funding restraints.

“Competitive funding from federal research and development agencies is becoming increasingly difficult to receive, so the new record is due to the true strength that UW faculty members have in national and international arenas,” Gern says.

The National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation provide the greatest amount of federal funding in support of research and graduate training to UW. Federal funding accounted for $78 million of the $86 million total.

In addition to the $86 million in research awards to faculty, UW’s Office of Research and Economic Development reported receiving $43 million in direct student loan funding and another $33 million in institutional awards — the latter coming primarily from federal Abandoned Mine Lands dollars. Including those awards, total external funding received by UW for the 2012 fiscal year was $163 million.

Each year, UW students reap the benefits of external awards. A large number of the university’s graduate students are supported either partially of fully with this funding. The Office of Research and Economic Development also says hundreds of undergraduates are paid from research contracts each month of the academic year in support of specific projects working one on one with faculty members.

The external awards also have a significant impact on Wyoming’s economy. About 60 percent of a typical research grant goes to salaries for people who buy goods and services in the state, Gern says. Using a conservative multiplier of 1.75 to estimate the secondary economic impact of spending from UW employees who received external federal funding as salaries in 2012, he notes that secondary impact totals about $82 million.

“The economic impact of the university’s research enterprise is sizable,” he says. “Only five other service-sector entities in Wyoming have budgets of $86 million or greater; these include large school districts and major hospitals in the state.”

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