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For immediate use

April 24, 2003 -- No. 246

UNC advances three places to 17th in NSF’s federal academic science, engineering ranking

CHAPEL HILL -- The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill placed 17th in the National Science Foundation’s just-released report on federal academic science and engineering obligations for fiscal 2001– advancing three spots from the fiscal 2000 funding totals.

UNC ranks as the top public university in the South and one of only two N.C. campuses featured in the top 20 for fiscal 2001, the latest year of funding reported by the NSF. Duke University was 19th in the funding report.

Of UNC’s $299.9 million total for federal academic science and engineering obligations, $252.9 million was from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and $22.8 million was from the NSF.

UNC’s most recent total for external grants and contracts (fiscal 2002), including federal academic science and engineering obligations, is $488.3 million, said Dr. Tony Waldrop, vice chancellor for research and economic development at UNC. The total for fiscal 2001 was $438.8 million.

UNC was a newcomer to the top 20 in the NSF report issued last year and the only new entrant to that fiscal 2000 list. At 20th for that year, UNC’s total for federal academic science and engineering obligations was $254.7 million.

UNC Chancellor James Moeser said the strong numbers reflected in the NSF report were testimony to the commitment, initiative and imagination of the university’s faculty and their students.

"Attracting sponsored research funds is another major contribution the university makes to the North Carolina economy," Moeser said. "Rankings like the NSF’s enhance the university’s ability to attract more of the great minds of science and outstanding students to Chapel Hill.

"The resulting research helps improve the lives of North Carolinians through projects that aim to cure diseases, improve technology and help businesses."

Waldrop added that spin-off companies specializing in technologies developed in UNC laboratories and other research settings were an increasingly valuable way in which advances in research funding brought economic dividends to the state.

"In the last five years, almost 20 spin-off companies have been created, with faculty research the centerpiece of each," he said. "These companies have represented advances in the treatment of cancer and Parkinson’s disease, to name a few examples, and have added jobs in the process."

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Note: For more information on the NSF report, click on
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