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The University of Alabama

UA Research Activity Makes Significant Gains

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama’s contract and grant activity has increased 18 percent from the previous year, totaling $76 million—a significant step in furthering UA’s commitment to advancing its position as one of the premier research universities in the nation, said Dr. Joe Benson, vice president for research and vice provost.

“This is part of the mission of our institution,” Benson said. “Not only are our faculty dealing with a significant increase in the number of students they’re serving, they’re expanding what they’re doing in the research arena. And they’re also expanding their outreach efforts.”

Research funding has increased to $38.5 million—$7.3 million more than the previous year (a 23.5 percent boost), and a record for the University, Benson said. The second-highest total was slightly more than $34 million. Public service funding increased about $5.5 million to $25.7 million. The University also has received $5 million in stimulus funding.

Benson noted that the University has been proactive in trying to increase the number of faculty submitting grant proposals. This past year, that total rose from 300 to 379.

“We receive more funding than any other institution in the state from the National Science Foundation,” Benson said. He added that the same holds true for Department of Education funding, and that funds from the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense and other agencies also have increased. “We’re broadening our portfolio, largely due to the hard work of our faculty.”

To set the stage for future growth, the University recently instituted a post-doctoral support program aimed at attracting talented young faculty members to the University. “Our young faculty have been very productive, and we’re looking at efforts to help,” he said. “One of our challenges is to continue that upward trend.”

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.