University of South Florida Research Funding Tops $413 million

The record research total was announced during President Judy Genshaft’s Fall Address.

USF President Judy Genshaft recognized students in the Latino Scholarship Program, which has a 95 percent graduation rate, as an example of the university’s student success initiatives. Photo by Aimee Blodgett | USF News

By Judy Lowry

Special to USF News

TAMPA, Fla. (Sep. 18, 2013) University of South Florida President Judy Genshaft announced Wednesday that the University of South Florida received a record $413,631,188 in research funding during the 2012-2013 academic year.

The research totals beat last year’s record $411.1 million by 1 percent, a significant achievement in light of the current slowdown in federal funding resulting from the budget sequestration.

“Research is what differentiates USF as a lead institution in the state of Florida, and nationally,” President Genshaft said.

“This is spectacular and a true testament to just how focused, strong and determined our faculty and researchers are.

We are defying the conventional wisdom by being more competitive in a year when federal budget cuts have made grants more difficult to win.”

USF research has shown steady growth, with a total of over $1.2 billion over the past three years. USF, which was ranked as the fifth fastest growing research university in the U.S. from 2000-2010 by The Chronicle of Higher Education, has seen its research funding grow by an impressive 62 percent over the past 10 years.

Private partnerships have broadened the university’s research support base. In 2003, 72 percent of research funding came from federal, state and local governmental sources, with just 28 percent from private partnerships. In the past two years, approximately 55 percent of the university’s research funding came from governmental and public sources, with approximately 45 percent from private sources.

“This favorable trend is in keeping with our focus on increasing our private partnerships, which is particularly important as federal funds have decreased,” said Paul Sanberg, USF’s Senior Vice President for Research & Innovation.

In her address, Genshaft highlighted USF’s success as an engine for regional economic development and job creation, citing a record year in technology transfer (the process of moving new discoveries from laboratory to market). During 2012-2013, the USF Tech Transfer Office launched nine new startup companies, executed 75 licenses and options for USF-developed technology (a 44 percent increase over the previous year), received 185 invention disclosures by USF researchers – the first step toward filing a patent – and saw a 50 percent increase in revenues and reimbursements.

The university’s Tampa Bay Technology Incubator, currently home to 42 resident and affiliate companies, added 10 new resident companies in the past year. The incubator companies have created over 200 high wage ($65K+) jobs in Tampa.

USF inventors were recognized by Genshaft as an important component in the university’s success. USF is the founder and home of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), which now has more than 2,000 individual inventor members and Fellows spanning more than 100 U.S. universities, and governmental and non-profit research institutions, and is growing rapidly. The USF Chapter of the NAI – the organization’s largest – has 270 USF inventor members who collectively hold more than 1,400 U.S. patents.

In addition to receiving funding for their research, USF faculty continued to garner national and international recognition through honors and awards. In the past year, said Genshaft, 73 faculty members have received highly prestigious awards, including Carnegie Foundation/CASE U.S. Professor of the Year, a record 15 fellowships from the American Association for the Advance of Science (AAAS), the only two Sloan research fellowships awarded in the State of Florida, three CAREER awards from the National Science Foundation, and four Core Fulbright awards, among others.

Notable funding received by the university in the last year includes:

  • With $100 million from the National Institutes of Health awarded in the past two years alone, USF’s top-funded researcher Jeffrey Krischer has awards reaching $500 million. Krischer heads USF’s Pediatric Epidemiology Center, a data and technology coordinating hub for nearly every major center worldwide conducting Type 1 diabetes clinical trials. In FY2013, he received $45 million in NIH funding. No other educational research institution has been awarded as much NIH funding for Type 1 diabetes research.

  • $3.9 million from the National Science Foundation awarded to James Mihelcic, professor of civil and environmental engineering in the College of Engineering, who will lead a team of international researchers to design, implement and teach about effective, geographically-appropriate and culturally-relevant engineered systems that utilize wastewater as a resource for the recovery of energy, water and nutrients. It is the university’s largest-ever sustainability grant.

  • $3.3 million from the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Mental Health (NIH/NIMH) awarded to Julie Serovich, dean of the College of Behavioral and Community Sciences, to study the decision to disclose one’s HIV status to family members.

  • $2.8 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded to Rebecca Sutphen, professor of Genetics at the Epidemiology Center, Department of Pediatrics in the College of Medicine, for a five-year study that will follow 5,000 Aetna members from across the country who have been newly diagnosed with breast cancer and are undergoing genetic testing.

  • $731,356 from the Department of Defense awarded to Pritish Mukherjee, professor and chair of Physics in the College of Arts and Sciences, to establish an interdisciplinary Center for Integrated Functional Materials at USF that will develop the science around integrated functional materials to serve U.S. soldiers in the field in three main areas: diagnostics and sensing, communication and energy, and power generation.

  • $2.1 million from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) awarded to Susan McMillan, Distinguished Professor of Oncology Nursing, College of Nursing, who is leading an interdisciplinary team of researchers studying a self-care management approach to cancer symptoms.