The University’s Medical School received more than $301 million for the 2008 fiscal year from the National Institutes of Health — its single largest source of federal funding, according to a recent press release.
The record amount puts the Medical School seventh on the list nationally of all universities for NIH grant funding, behind leader Johns Hopkins University. The University was second on the list for medical schools affiliated with public universities.
Close to 45 percent of the University’s research expenditures came from NIH grants, which were used to fund everything from studies in the School of Nursing to studies in the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program.
Dr. James Woolliscroft, dean of the Medical School, said the funding is especially significant given the current economic situation.
“Especially in the current tight funding climate that we and all medical schools face, the entire U-M Medical School community should take pride in topping $300 million in NIH funds for the first time, and in ranking firmly in the national top,” he said in the press release.
Shantell Kirkendoll, senior public relations representative for the Medical School, reiterated the tough economic environment for government funding, saying that difficulties in procuring grants were largely reflected by the amounts NIH had available to distribute in 2008. She went on to add that the grants that the University earned last year are already being used.
“The money that’s come is already paying for the work being done by our researchers and physicians,” she said. “It pays for everything from their salaries to their supplies and other services that they need to keep their labs running.”
In the past, donors to the University like Bill and Dee Brehm, Alfred Taubman and Charles Mott have enabled researchers to continue their studies and clinical trials so they can gain further NIH funding in what is now an increasingly competitive grant application and allocation process.
Of the 712 grants awarded to the University, the $55 million Clinical Translational Science Award and a National Cancer Institute grant awarded to the Southwest Oncology Group were among the most substantial. Kirkendoll said the two awards are the kinds of compelling achievements that “launched us over the $300 million total.”
Kirkendoll also attributed the University’s achievements to the quality of the research faculty and facilities on campus. She said the Biomedical Science Research building, which opened in February 2006 and currently houses 250 biomolecular research labs, is one such example of the attractive features of the University that have encouraged continued support through grant funding.
“Part of our success certainly has to do with the talent of people here as well as our facilities,” Kirkendoll said.