Researchers at the University of Central Florida received $ 113 million in grants in FY 13, a year that was characterized by federal budget cuts and a strong effort by the university’s educators to increase critical Science, Technology, Education and Mathematics (STEM) training programs.
The College of Engineering and Computer Science received the most funding with $18.3 million, followed by the College of Sciences with $14.2 million. The College of Education and Human Performance received 36 percent more funding than in FY12 with $10.8 million.
“Our faculty did a yeoman’s job in securing funding despite the perfect storm of the federal sequester, state funding cuts for UCF and loss of some key faculty members,” said MJ Soileau, vice president for research & commercialization.
“Before the sequester we were running dead even with our FY12 levels, our best year other than the year of the federal stimulus money,” he said.
Federal awards totaled $52.9 million, a drop of 28 percent over FY12. The university initiated a slightly different tabulation model in FY13 designed to give a clearer picture of industry funding. Funding for industry and other sources including professional and non-profit organizations was $41 million. State and local funding combined was $19.3 million.
A highlight of the year was NASA’s award of a $55 million grant to Professor Richard Eastes of the Florida Space Institute. The project, the first NASA mission led by UCF, will launch into space an instrument to image the Earth’s upper atmosphere. However the funding will be received in increments starting in FY14 and is not counted as part of the FY13 total.
The university’s premier commercialization effort, the UCF Business Incubation Program, which is funded in partnership with local governments, was awarded the National Business Incubator Network of the Year award in 2013, a sign that UCF’s economic engagement efforts are being recognized around the country.
Rosemarye Taylor, Janet Andreasen and Erhan Haciomeroglu from the College of Education and Human Performance continued a 3-year leadership project funded by federal stimulus money through the Florida Department of Education to increase the ranks of math and science teachers in the state. In FY 13 $6.1 million of the total $10.2 million project was funded.
The National Science Foundation also awarded a UCF program focused on STEM $1.8 million. Cynthia Young, a professor of mathematics and associate dean in the College of Sciences and Michael Georgiopoulos, dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science lead the Convincing Math-Potential Majors to Succeed in STEM (COMPASS) program that started this summer.
Two UCF researchers, Sasan Fathpour from the College of Optics & Photonics and Jennifer Pazour from the College of Engineering and Computer Science, were awarded prestigious Young Investigator Awards from the Office of Naval Research. The awards total $1.2 million over three years and will study fast low-power optical modulators and the design of sea-based logistic delivery systems respectively.
UCF researchers also received two NSF Early CAREER awards. Hojun Song from the College of Sciences was awarded for a study of the evolution of locust swarms and Azaden Vosoughi from the College of Engineering and Computer Science received funding to study event detection in wireless sensor networks.
Over the course of the year UCF researchers also achieved a world-record laser pulse of 67 attoseconds, and four Defense University Research Instrumentation Program awards.
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