UCF has done it again, bringing in a record $192.1 million in research funding for fiscal year 2019.
Twenty-six grants worth more than $1 million each and 155 first-time lead investigators helped UCF grow its research portfolio. The university saw more funding from federal agencies ($104.8 million) and industry ($66 million), with the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health contributing $25.3 million and $12.9 million, respectively.
In fiscal year 2018, research funding came in at $183.1 million, marking the third consecutive year to see an increase. The trend sets the university on a path toward its strategic goal of $250 million by 2020.
UCF researchers are using the money to advance knowledge in a variety of areas. They are helping communities face coastal threats and enriching our understanding of the English language. They are building community schools that meet the needs of students and their families. Faculty and students are developing artificial intelligence to detect cancer tumors. They are investigating how to get us to the moon and beyond, and much more.
For the past three years, the Office of Research has been implementing several changes to support researchers in their work from streamlining the grant submission process to providing additional training opportunities to help faculty prepare proposals.
“It’s been a good year thanks to the efforts of our faculty and the support teams in our office and in the colleges,” says Elizabeth Klonoff, vice president for Research. “Together we are adding knowledge to various disciplines and enriching our communities. I’m especially proud of the work our team has done to help first-time investigators propose and successfully obtain grants. These first-time investigators played a big role in our continued success. We are well on our way to meeting our financial goals and producing results that change lives.”
Among the grants obtained in fiscal ’19 are:
- $1.1 million to develop a computer-based, artificial intelligence and tutoring tool that monitors students’ learning activities, facial expressions, eye movements and interactions with avatars and adapts its instruction delivery to help students learn more effectively. Professor Roger Azevedo, from the College of Community Innovation and Education, secured the NSF grant. Azevedo is also part of the Learning Sciences Cluster.
- $515,000 to investigate the impact of HIV infection on heart cells. Many HIV patients die from heart failure. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NIH) provided the funds so that and Assistant Professor Manish Gupta, of the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences, can figure out why HIV impacts the heart and potentially design ways to prevent it.
- $1.1 million to researcher and computer science grad Dean Reed ’00 at the Institute of Simulation and Training to study the use of artificial intelligence for training purposes.
- $15 million to study the effectiveness of trauma management therapy and prolonged exposure therapy for the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in active duty personnel led by Deborah Beidel of the College of Sciences.
“This success is entirely attributable to the great work of our outstanding faculty,” says Michael Johnson, dean of the College of Sciences. “I am proud that we have so many faculty, experienced and new, that are able to compete at the very top of the profession. Their success testifies to UCF’s development as a major research university — with great faculty and a dedicated staff supporting them.”
UCF is continuing to invest in the future of research at UCF. The university has rolled out several digital infrastructure projects that will help modernize the research enterprise. Once complete, the upgrades are to help make research at UCF a more efficient and user-friendly process. That will give researchers more time to spend doing what they do best – making discoveries and solving some of the toughest problems facing our world.