Steven Goodman, PhD, vice chancellor for Research at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, announced that UTHSC has achieved record growth in research funding. Recently released numbers from the Office of Research show research grants and contract awards for FY19 totaling more than $100 million for the first time in UTHSC history.
This number represents a leap over a three-year period during which funding jumped nearly 20 percent, from approximately $84 million in all research sponsored dollars in FY16 to today’s total of $100,349,177. Roughly half of these funds come from federal sources.
UTHSC has had equal success in total external grants and contracts (research, education, service). These total non-clinical expenditures, termed sponsored program expenditures by the state, exceeded $300 million. This is also the most in UTHSC history and the most in the UT System. Similarly, clinical revenues exceed $350 million last year.
“We have completed a record-breaking year and key among our accomplishments are record research awards and expenditures,” said UTHSC Chancellor Steve J. Schwab, MD, speaking in his annual State of the University address last month.
The increases in research awards began in FY16, following a restructure of the university’s strategic plan for research. The plan emphasized that an interdisciplinary, interprofessional, and entrepreneurial environment was necessary for research success. The plan also prescribed focus in certain core areas of research and emphasized the need for improved research infrastructure.
The infrastructure improvements included increasing institutional research cores and incentivizing faculty to develop large, interdisciplinary, team-oriented grant proposals. The infrastructure enhancements have resulted in improved staff quality, more-robust training, streamlined processes, and better contracting times for sponsored programs.
Contributing to the research success are a number of initiatives developed to encourage collaboration among researchers on campus, as well as nationally and globally. These include the Cornet Awards emphasizing team-based multidisciplinary research, and The Clinical Trials Network of Tennessee (CTN2), which is working to create a statewide clinical trials network. The Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy led the record research results with individual record performances.
These college- and Institution-spanning initiatives seek interdisciplinary grants by developing new research teams and associations that extend across disciplines, colleges, and universities to ask questions that lead to big ideas and to craft multidisciplinary approaches to health care.