UF topped $900M in research funding last year

An evening view of UF's Century Tower and University Auditorium.
A new record for the flagship university.

The University of Florida pulled in a record $900.7 million in research funding in fiscal year 2020 despite many activities being paused for more than two months by the pandemic.

The total is up $63 million from the 2018-19 fiscal year, when the flagship university received $837 million in research awards. The 2020 haul is nearly half again more than the $619 million UF received 10 years ago.

“This $900 million milestone is a testament to the thousands of faculty members who are helping to change the world with their research and scholarship,” said David Norton, UF’s vice president for research. “The truly remarkable thing about the UF research enterprise is its diversity. From agriculture to medicine and engineering to English, UF faculty are creating new knowledge and sharing it with our students, our peers and our citizens.”

The university credits its researchers for the banner year — even when the pandemic kept them out of their labs they kept submitting proposals to public and private funding agencies. Researchers sent in nearly 6,000 requests in all.

“Even with the significant challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, UF researchers continued to explore, many specifically in response to the virus,” Norton said

About $639 million of UF’s haul came in through federal research grants, which represents a 21% increase year-over-year and a 53% increase from a decade ago.

Funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services — UF’s largest sponsor — was up nearly 31% to $321.8 million. Other major funders include the National Science Foundation at $62.9 million, the Department of Defense at $61.3 million and the Department of Education at $39.9 million. The university also received about $15 million in federal funding through the CARES Act.

About a third of the funding went to the College of Medicine. Its $310.9 million in receipts also set a record, up 9.5% from the 2018-19 fiscal year. The College of Engineering was up 27% to a record $114.1; the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) received $141.3 million; and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences received $40.9 million.

The total for the rest of UF’s 16 colleges was $293.5 million.

“Universities have long been at the heart of American innovation,” Norton said. “UF’s partnership with the federal agencies and Congress is essential to the development of new medical treatments, new crops, new tools and new knowledge for the people of Florida, the nation and the world.”

UF isn’t alone in celebrating a record year for research funding. Last week, Florida State University announced it had received a record $250.1 million, and Florida A&M University also hit a new high with $60.8 million in grant money.

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.


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