University of Iowa reports record amount of external funding

IOWA CITY — The University of Iowa reports it took in a record amount of external funding in the last fiscal year.

Marty Scholz, is the U-I’s vice president for research. “We’re up to a little short of 589 million dollars — which is up six percent from last — up almost 35 million from last year,” he says. The funding includes gifts and grants and Scholz says they were able to get some funding from sources that they haven’t seen as much funding from in the past.

That includes a National Science Foundation grant to study STEM education, and a grant from the Department of Defense. “The particular project that we have is to do some rehabilitation medicine, to devise some new devices. And then some other funding from the Department of Education, some places where we’ve always had some funding, but are getting a little more funding,” Scholz explains. “The number one funder continues to be the National Institutes of Health.” The funding from the NIH totaled nearly $171 million  in the 2019 fiscal year.

He says obtaining the funding is very competitive process that includes other schools from across the country, and in some cases worldwide. “You have to know your audience, know who you’re writing for. But also for some of these agencies — especially the ones that we sort of call the mission agencies like the Department of Defense — you have know what it is that they want,” Scholz says. “So you have to work with them to figure out if what you do can help solve one of the problems that they have,” according to Scholz.

Scholz says the funding for research is not only important for those doing the work– but it also reaches beyond the researchers to students. “A lot of these projects involve students, almost all of them involve students of some sort. So students are getting experiences out of the classroom to augment those classroom experiences,” Scholz says. “…Certainly the graduate students and others are learning hot to do research to do this for a career.”

The funding report does not include a $115 million award from NASA to Iowa physicist Craig Kletzing — which was the single largest externally funded research project in the U-I’s history. Some of that funding is expected to be included in the 2020 fiscal year.