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MU Researchers Overcome Economic Woes, Generate Record Levels of Research Money

June 14, 2010

Story Contact(s):
Christian Basi, BasiC@missouri.edu, 573-882-4430

Rob Duncan is the MU Vice Chancellor for Research. During fiscal year 2009, MU researchers spent more than $543 million on academic contracts, including research, instruction and public service, academic enterprise, and externally funded student financial aid.

Rob Duncan is the MU Vice Chancellor for Research. During fiscal year 2009, MU researchers spent more than $543 million on academic contracts, including research, instruction and public service, academic enterprise, and externally funded student financial aid.

COLUMBIA, Mo. ­— While economic woes are in the news nearly every day, researchers at the University of Missouri have experienced the opposite trend as they have attracted record levels of grant money to the region to study problems in several fields, including electrical and computer engineering, physics, biological sciences, agriculture, medicine, psychology, business, and literature.

“Reaching these record milestones, particularly given today’s challenging economic climate, reaffirms the place of MU’s faculty investigators among the nation’s leaders in research, scholarship, public service and economic development,” said Rob Duncan, vice chancellor for research. “Original thinking and discovery are vital to the continued health of our national economy; in tough times we need more, not less, support for the scientists, scholars and students whose innovative thinking will lead our nation’s return to prosperity.”

During fiscal year 2009, MU researchers spent more than $543 million on research, instruction and public service, academic enterprise, and externally funded student financial aid. This is an 11 percent increase from the previous year when researchers spent roughly $489 million and a 38 percent increase from five years ago.

“Much of this money was spent in the local or state economy through the creation of jobs that support this research or purchasing vital equipment to complete the studies,” Duncan said. “Studies have shown that MU research creates millions in economic development dollars. For example, the money generated by MU last year was roughly equivalent to 20 companies with revenues of $12 million each.”

The future also looks promising as researchers received more than $573 million in awards during the 2009 fiscal year. Some recent research awards include:

  • $6.8 million to the School of Medicine to encourage rural doctors to start using electronic health records. Experts say the increased use of electronic medical records could save lives.
  • $3.1 million grant to the College of Veterinary Medicine to expand research on biological joint technology, or using living tissue to replace damaged joints.
  • $5 million grant to the Department of Physics in the College of Arts and Science to increase physics instruction in Missouri high schools.
  • $1.4 million to the College of Engineering to develop technology that would detect falls and atypical behavior among retirement community residents.
  • $1.5 million to the Bond Life Sciences Center and the MU School of Journalism to address the difficulties of communicating science to the public.

Researchers also benefited from funds made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Currently, MU has been awarded more than $64 million for 91 projects through ARRA proposals.

Mizzou officials also have been working to take the discoveries resulting from this research and create new businesses. In FY 2009, Mizzou researchers filed 68 patent applications and the university received more than $10 million in licensing income from MU inventions. This is up from the 49 patent applications filed and $6 million received in royalty income in FY 2008.

“We’re working with our researchers every day to develop the best strategies for moving their discoveries from the lab to the marketplace,” said Chris Fender, director of the Office of Technology Management and Industry Relations. “Commercializing these new technologies is a sure way to help boost the economy of the state through the creation of new jobs and new revenue streams.”

 NOTE: For the entire research report, please visit http://research.missouri.edu/2009/

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