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UNC places 13th nationwide in NIH research grants; all health affairs units in top 25

National Institutes of Health funding for research conducted at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill jumped almost 12 percent in fiscal 2002, according to new figures released by the federal agency.

UNC faculty attracted $264.3 million in NIH funding – up from $236.8 million in 2001 – ranking 13th overall among U.S. private and public universities. Johns Hopkins University topped the list at $510 million. UNC is the top public university in the South and one of only five Southern universities, public or private, cited in the NIH’s top 20.

The NIH, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the principal biomedical research arm of the federal government. NIH research institutes are fighting diseases including AIDS, alcoholism, arthritis, cancer, diabetes and stroke, as well as tackling health topics related to aging, women and children, drug abuse, the environment and rapidly emerging multidisciplinary fields such as genomics and proteomics.

"This 12 percent increase in NIH funding is yet another example of the power of re-investment of our federal facility and administration funds, commonly known as overhead receipts, to grow research at Carolina," said Chancellor James Moeser.

"Through this re-investment we have created the necessary research infrastructure to attract and support faculty capable of winning these grants in a highly competitive environment," he said. "My hat is off to these great faculty, whose work will have enormous impact in improving the quality of life for North Carolinians and creating the knowledge that will lead to job creation in North Carolina."

The effect such federal research funding has on the state’s economy is crucial, said Dr. Tony Waldrop, vice chancellor for research and economic development.

"Increasingly, we are seeing how research that proceeds from the laboratory bench to commercialization can have a far-reaching effect," he said. "The more federal research support we are awarded, the greater our research’s ability to result in job creation within North Carolina and – even more importantly – solve problems that can improve lives for our state’s citizens and citizens worldwide."

The School of Medicine received the vast majority of UNC’s NIH funds ($190.3 million) for fiscal 2002, ranking 14th nationwide – an almost $20 million increase in funding from fiscal 2001 to 2002. In addition, 11 medical school departments ranked among the top 20 nationally for NIH grants.

These were psychiatry (fourth), pharmacology (fifth), biochemistry and biophysics (ninth), pathology (ninth), microbiology and immunology (10th), genetics (12th), internal medicine (13th), dermatology (14th), orthopedics (18th), pediatrics (18th) and surgery (19th).

"This has been an exciting year in the life of Carolina’s medical research community," said Dr. Jeffrey L. Houpt, vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of the medical school. "We are creating an infrastructure that will support the work of the emerging sciences such as proteomics. Federal support is crucial to our ability to remain leaders in this and other medical research fields."

All five of UNC’s health affairs schools – dentistry, medicine, nursing, pharmacy and public health – ranked within the top 25 of public and private institutions, according to the NIH. Three UNC schools were listed at fifth or higher. Following are the NIH totals for all five schools:

· The School of Dentistry received $8.7 million, fifth nationwide.

· The School of Nursing received $7.5 million, fourth nationwide.

· The School of Public Health received $34.1 million, fifth nationwide.

· The School of Medicine received $190.3 million, 14th nationwide.

· The School of Pharmacy received $2.2 million, 23rd nationwide.

UNC’s $264.3 million NIH funding total included 580 research grants worth $223.2 million, 45 training grants totaling $12.4 million, 49 fellowships worth close to $1.8 million, eight research and development contracts valued at $25.4 million and four other awards worth $1.5 million.

UNC placed 17th in the National Science Foundation’s recently released report on federal academic science and engineering obligations for fiscal 2001 – advancing three spots from the fiscal 2000 funding totals.

UNC was third in federally financed research and development expenditures in the social sciences for fiscal 2001, the highest achieved by UNC in the various science and engineering fields included in the NSF’s research and development expenditure tables.

"The social sciences are a vital part of our campus’s research community," said Waldrop. "They are key to our continued excellence and to the spirit of achievement that defines this community."

UNC’s most recent total for external grants and contracts (fiscal 2002), including federal academic science and engineering obligations, is $479 million. The total for fiscal 2001 was $438.8 million.

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Related links:

For a release on UNC’s National Science Foundation funding for fiscal 2001, click on

NIH rankings link:

UNC research link: