Congratulations to Kansas University for continuing the trend of attracting record amounts of outside research funding for the university.
KU officials announced this week that the university received a record $275.2 million in external research funding in 2011-12 and expects to exceed that amount for 2012-13.
That’s an achievement worth celebrating even if it is unlikely to continue for another year. Because a large share of that funding came from federal government sources, KU officials expect the mandatory 5 percent federal budget cuts that were part of this year’s “sequester” action will make it hard for the university to continue its record-setting climb.
In the meantime, however, KU faculty and students, as well as the entire state are benefiting from hundreds of millions of dollars to fund important research. The largest single source of outside funding for 2011-12 was from the National Institutes of Health, which funds research at the KU Medical Center. Other leading sources of federal funds included the U.S. Department of Education and the National Science Foundation. Federal funds represent 81.2 percent of the outside funding KU received, but additional grants also came from private industry, state and local government, not-for-profit groups and other sources.
KU has seen its outside research funding increase by more than $75 million in the last five years. That’s a strong endorsement of the quality of research being conducted at the state’s flagship university and should draw some positive attention from both state taxpayers and state legislators.
KU officials are expecting a short-term decline in outside funding, but who knows? The work KU is doing in various areas has established a positive reputation for the university and its top researchers that, even in tough times, may continue to attract outside investment.