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At Thursday’s University of Michigan Board of Regents meeting in Flint, the board discussed the recent growth in research investment and the rise in funding and endowments more generally.
S. Jack Hu, the University’s vice president for research, announced that the amount of research funding received by the University rose to a record volume of $1.39 billion in fiscal year 2016, marking a 7.2 percent increase in the last year. Much of the increase in funding, according to a University press release, comes from growth in contracts with federal agencies like the Department for Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense.
“The growing investment in U-M research is a measure of the continuing confidence of our sponsors in the value that our faculty and students bring to society,” Hu said in the release.
Executive officers also highlighted donations to research initiatives, most notably a $10.75 million gift from University alumni Frances and Kenneth Eisenberg to develop personalized treatments at the Depression Center. The research is the first ever multidisciplinary effort to bring together the research, education and treatment of depressive and bipolar illnesses.
During the meeting, University President Mark Schlissel thanked the Eisenberg family and said the center’s work is pivotal to addressing access to mental health services on campus.
“This generous gift will help the center develop personalized treatments,” he said. “This gift will help … fight depression and its associated stigmas.”
As a supplement to the donation, the board voted to award a professorship named after the Eisenberg family to Psychiatry Prof. Srijan Sen, whom Schlissel called a “world-class expert on the biology of stress and depression.”
Regent Katherine White (D) also presented figures on the University’s endowment in the fiscal year 2016, saying that distributions to the general fund exceeded $300 million for the first time, and the total value of the endowment reached $9.7 billion at the end of the summer.
The University is ranked seventh among the ten colleges with the largest endowments at the end of fiscal year 2015, according to U.S. News and World Report.