UNC-Chapel Hill once again surpasses $ 1 billion in research grants


For the second year in a row, awards for research conducted at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have exceeded $ 1 billion. Overall, the University received over $ 1.073 billion in new research grants in fiscal year 2021. Funding from these grants is used to conduct research projects and experiments for external sponsors such as as federal agencies, industrial partners and not-for-profit organizations.

“More than half of our schools, including the UNC College of Arts and Sciences, saw the number of awards increase last year,” the UNC Vice Chancellor of Research said, Terry Magnuson. “In the face of much adversity, our research teams have remained dedicated to cultivating new discoveries that have increased the investments of our external partners. “

Carolina faculty, staff, interns and students have persevered through a hectic year in search of solutions to many facets of the pandemic. In addition to advancements and the deployment of rapid testing mechanisms, decades of coronavirus research at UNC-Chapel Hill led to the development of the first COVID-19 treatment, remdesivir, and the advancement of the Moderna vaccine to clinical trials.

“Almost 10% of last year’s awards, over $ 100 million, were focused on fighting the pandemic,” Magnuson said. “As a result, Carolina has been a leader in responding to this global health crisis. And we remain vigilant – teams are currently sequencing and tracking variants and collaborating to create broad-spectrum antivirals to prevent future pandemics. “

Carolina has also seen a growth in new funding outside of work on COVID-19 and its impact. The UNC Carolina Population Center received $ 38.2 million from the National Institute on Aging to continue its National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent and Adult Health (Add Health), the largest and most comprehensive longitudinal study of health teenagers ever business in the country.

Despite social distancing, Carolina’s highly collaborative environment flourished – 60% of scholarships included multiple researchers, and funding for educational and research institutions increased by $ 18.2 million. This included a new partnership with researchers at Duke University that will improve cancer detection.

Funding from federal sources accounted for 70% of all research awards in FY21. Major research sponsors at Carolina included the National Institutes of Health ($ 638 million), the US Department of Education ($ 56.9 million), the National Science Foundation ($ 43.5 million), and the US Department of Health and Human Services ($ 33.7 million).

Research at Carolina employs more than 10,000 North Carolina residents in projects that span all 100 counties. Since most research funding comes from out of state, this represents new revenue for the gross state product of North Carolina, and research spending supports more than 4,000 companies. across the state.

Grants and research spending are the most common measures of research activity for universities, both of which exceed $ 1 billion in Carolina. Fellowships represent new research grants and contracts that a university receives in a fiscal year. They are an important forward-looking measure of the health of a research institution, as they often represent multi-year projects that will continue in the years to come. Spending is an afterthought measure of actual research spending that has occurred in previous years. Carolina’s success in FY21 fellowships could predict an even greater volume of research spending in the years to come.

For more information on research grants, spending, and historical trends, visit the Research Funding page on the UNC Research website.


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