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MEMPHIS — Funding for research at the University of Tennessee statewide grew to a record $285 million in 2005, spurred in part by a dramatic increase in awards to the university’s Knoxville campus, UT President John Petersen announced at the UT Board of Trustees- winter meeting.

The UT System won $285.1 million in grants for fiscal year 2005, up from $271.2 million in fiscal 2004. The UT main campus totaled more than $131 million, an increase of $22 million over its 2004 total.

Petersen cited the Oak Ridge National Laboratory through UT Battelle as a primary driver.

“The university’s research funding grew remarkably in 2005,” said David Millhorn, UT vice president for research. “Figures for the main campus and the Institute of Agriculture were especially exciting.”

The totals, contained in the university’s fiscal 2005 Research and Sponsored Programs report, include monies committed to the university for programs in research, instruction and public service. The awards typically are funded by external sponsors that include federal and state agencies, foundations and private corporations. It is important to note that while the university is reimbursed for costs associated with the projects, it receives no additional profit, Millhorn said.

Two departments on the Knoxville campus led the increase, according to Millhorn. Both the departments of Physics & Astronomy and of Materials Science & Engineering doubled the amount of research support they received from outside funding agencies. The physics department won $9.4 million in fiscal 2005, and materials science and engineering won $8.2 million.

“Our increased collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory is beginning to pay dividends,” Millhorn said. “The completion of ORNL’s Spallation Neutron Source will drive research in UT’s physics and materials science programs for the foreseeable future.”

The jump in funding not only promises more prestige for the university but also enhances the possibility for research-related economic development, he said. It also enhances the education UT students get in the classroom.

The upsurge was not limited to the flagship campus, Millhorn said. UT’s Institute of Agriculture also continued an impressive growth trend that started with the new millennium: In fiscal 2000, UTIA won $13.7 million in research funds; the total for 2005 was $30.5 million.

The University of Tennessee Martin also recorded a substantial increase in funding. The West Tennessee institution increased its awards from $4.6 million in fiscal 2004 to $8.1 million for 2005.

Research awards at UT’s Health Science Center in Memphis fell in 2005, but Millhorn said the drop was predictable.

“Memphis is coming off its own record year in 2004, when it won the largest single grant ever received at UT,” he said. “The biocontainment laboratory that the National Institutes of Health awarded Memphis was a one-time grant of $13.7 million.”

The university system’s largest sponsors include the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, various departments of the state of Tennessee, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and several agencies of the National Institutes of Health.

The University of Tennessee System comprises three accredited institutions: UT Chattanooga, UT Martin, and the University of Tennessee, which includes the main campus in Knoxville, the statewide institutes of Agriculture and Public Service headquartered in Knoxville, the Health Science Center in Memphis, and the Space Institute in Tullahoma.

In other board related news, UT President John Petersen and Health Science Chancellor Bill Owen presented patent plaques to 22 health researchers for patents received over the past several years.


David Millhorn, Vice President for Research (865-974-8913)

Bill Dockery, Office of Research (865-974-2187, bill.dockery@tennessee.edu)

FY 2005 report available at https://san4.dii.utk.edu/servlet/page?_pageid=3804&_dad=portal30&_schema=PORTAL30

For audio clips of UT newsmakers, visit http://pr.tennessee.edu/news or call 800-343-NEWS (6397)