University of California Irvine: UCI receives $580 million in research funding for fiscal 2021-22


From monitoring sandy beaches to gauge the effects of sea-level rise to holding clinical trials for potentially lifesaving cancer treatments, scholars, scientists and physicians at the University of California, Irvine are blazing new paths to help change the world. And their impact keeps growing. In fiscal 2021-22, which ended June 30, UCI received the second-most research funding in campus history: $580 million in grants and contracts.

Awards from federal and state agencies, leading foundations and forward-thinking companies have increased by more than $213 million since 2018, reflecting continued strong support for UCI’s top-ranked faculty, first-rate facilities, diverse and talented student body, and community-based programs.

This last fiscal year marks another record for UCI research when COVID-19 emergency relief funding ($6 million) from the U.S. Department of Education is not included. In 2020-21, UCI received $591 million, of which more than $88 million came in the form of these COVID-19 grants.

“This research funding milestone confirms UCI’s ascent among its Association of American Universities peers as a world-class research university. Our faculty, students and staff are truly excelling in an environment of tremendous competition for financial support of research and innovation,” said Pramod Khargonekar, UCI vice chancellor for research. “These results indicate that UCI’s preeminent research enterprise will make even greater and more productive contributions to the state, the nation and the world.”

The largest single source of research funding at UCI remains the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which encompasses the National Institutes of Health, accounting for $195 million in fiscal 2021-22. Among other federal sources, the National Science Foundation provided $53 million. The state of California contributed $37 million.

Profit-making entities awarded UCI $136 million, a $25 million gain over 2020-21. Grants from philanthropic foundations and charitable trusts reached $77 million. Overall, 48 percent of research support came from nongovernmental entities.

Promoting new cures

More than $338 million of all UCI research funding in fiscal 2021-22 was for biomedical and health sciences clinical work across campus.

Also continuing to increase was total financial backing for clinical trials in all health science areas to advance new treatments for debilitating diseases: $97 million. One thriving site of this is UCI’s Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center – Orange County’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center. Its researchers brought in more than $80 million for clinical studies and trials this past fiscal year.

in 2021-22 include:

With a $675,000 grant from NASA, UCI engineers are launching a new project focused on remote monitoring of sandy beaches and dunes.
UCI investigators were awarded a five-year, $14 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study brain circuits that are susceptible to aging and Alzheimer’s disease. The research findings will advance the development of early diagnostic tools and the discovery of new treatment strategies.
The National Science Foundation gave a Rapid Response Research grant of nearly $175,000 to UCI researchers in psychological science and nursing who seek to gauge the effect that media coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has on the mental health of U.S. citizens.
Swethaa Ballakrishnen, co-director of the Center for Empirical Research on the Legal Profession at UCI’s School of Law, is the principal investigator on a team that received a $511,230 NSF grant for a project titled “Diversity and Networking in Law School: Are Law Students From Diverse Backgrounds Disadvantaged?” Ballakrishnen is the first full-time UCI Law faculty member to get an NSF grant.
The S. Department of Education awarded a $5.2 million Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs partnership grant to UCI’s School of Education to expand college preparation efforts in Compton schools. This supplements a GEAR UP grant of $5.4 million given to the UCI Center for Educational Partnerships in the fall of 2018.
The UCI Libraries were awarded $800,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support Community-Centered Archives Practice: Transforming Education, Archives and Community History. The Mellon Foundation also granted two UCI social sciences professors $225,000 to examine today’s complex structural and social issues, with the role Black Americans played in reconstructing American society after the Civil War as the framework.
Stem cell researcher Aileen Anderson, director of UCI’s Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center, was awarded a $5.5 million grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine to develop a new human neural stem cell therapeutic for treating chronic cervical spinal cord injury.
Through its Minority University Research and Education Project, NASA granted $750,000 to fund a project proposed by UCI and Oregon State University to expand underserved students’ access to science, technology, engineering and math learning opportunities.
UCI researchers from the Program in Public Health and the School of Medicine received $700,000 from the city of Santa Ana to address inequities and gaps in health services and enhance COVID-19 mitigation efforts in vulnerable populations.
The Center for Critical Korean Studies at UCI won two prestigious grants – one from the Academy of Korean Studies, the other from the Korea Foundation – providing more than $1 million for academic and programmatic developments, including a new faculty position.

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