As Kansas University officials announced an uptick in research expenses during the last academic year, KU is looking for new ways to continue that momentum.
KU reported spending $207.1 million in external funding for research, development and training in the year ending June 2009, up about five percent from the previous year.
Steve Warren, vice provost for research and graduate studies, is chairman of a committee formed at the request of Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little to raise the levels of scholarly research done at the university.
The totals reflected expenses beginning to flow from some large grants — such as a $20.2 million National Institutes of Health grant for a research team led by Jeff Aube, professor of medicinal chemistry, Warren said. However, in order to keep moving forward, Warren said KU will try to raise the number of overall faculty participating in funded research projects.
“I think we can continue the momentum and I think we can expand it,” he said.
On the Lawrence campus, about half of the faculty generate externally funded grants, and while that number will never reach 100 percent — nor should it, he said — the task force is seeking ways to bring more faculty members into the fold.
In some cases, he said faculty members are in need of more time to engage in externally funded research, and in others, it’s a matter of a lack of experience.
“We can’t lose sight of the fact that it’s not about the money,” Warren said. “What this is really about is the discovery and implementation of knowledge.”
He said ongoing research at KU continues to make a difference in the world, including through its cancer-related drug development and discovery efforts and a project to measure the thickness of ice sheets.