September 13, 2008

UW Rakes in $78 Million in Yearly Research Funding

By Becky Orr

By Becky Orr

[email protected]

LARAMIE - The University of Wyoming set a record for 2007-08 by earning $78 million in research money.

The funds came from state, federal and private industry grants.

The university has set a record every year for the last 22 years, said Bill Gern, UW's vice president for research and economic development.

The money goes to faculty, research scientists and administrative employees at UW. They apply for grants or scholarships to do research projects.

The money is used for research, as well as training and educating faculty and students.

The record "represents terrific work by the faculty," he said, and is 7.7 percent above what UW received in 2006-07. The record came at a time when the available pool of federal money is not growing.

Faculty members from universities across the country apply for the same pots of money.

"It's a rather intense competition for these funds," Gern told the university's Board of Trustees on Friday. "For a university of our size and a faculty of our size, we're receiving a fairly good portion of external funding. It's because our faculty are competitive. We are competitive against some very large universities."

Faculty members are required to pursue such scholarship, he said. "We expect them to increase the knowledge in their discipline. Universities are where new knowledge is created."

About $37 million of the $78 million goes into salaries for faculty, research scientists, post-doctorate students and other students. About 1,200 university employees get all or some of their salaries from these awards. Most of UW's 3,000 graduate students get money as well.

Universities with medical or vet schools receive considerably more money from these external awards, Gern said. The University of Colorado system, for example, got about $826 million, he said. But it has a large medical school, lots of campuses and at least 24,000 students.

In other matters, the trustees heard a preliminary student enrollment report.

As of Aug. 15, there were 495 more students this year, or a 4.6 percent increase from last year at the same time.

The official count won't be taken until Monday, said Sara Axelson, vice president of student affairs. There are more than 12,000 students attending.

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