UIC exceeds half a billion dollars in research funding for first time 

The University of Illinois Chicago received $509 million in research funding during the 2023 fiscal year – an all-time high for Chicago’s only public research university. The awards funded more than 3,400 projects spanning from the development of new medical treatments and evidence-based policies for violence prevention and sustainable cities to innovative research on health disparities, urban climate, manufacturing technologies and diversity in STEM education. 

A bouquet-like arrangement of blue and white spikes emerge from a black background.
A nanoneedle floral bloom created by scientists in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering. (Image: Arani Mukhopadhyay, Anish Pal, Constantine M. Megaridis)

The 2023 total reflects an 11% increase in funding over fiscal year 2022 and a 49% increase since 2018. The funding supports research by UIC’s diverse array of 3,000 faculty members, 7,315 graduate students and 22,107 undergraduates, many of whom conduct research in parallel with their academic work. 

“Surpassing the half-billion-dollar milestone in research funding is a clear marker of the exceptional research program at the University of Illinois Chicago and the vitality of our mission to create knowledge that transforms the world,” Chancellor Marie Lynn Miranda said. “As a public university with 54% of undergraduates who are Pell recipients, this funding enables us to offer students from all backgrounds the opportunity to participate in world-class research. The funding also reflects our commitment to creating positive and enduring impact in science and society.” 

“Our remarkable growth in research funding over the past five years highlights the breadth and depth of research at UIC, from the laboratory to the community,” Vice Chancellor for Research Joanna Groden said. “These awards support researchers from education, the humanities and public policy to the physical sciences, engineering and biomedicine as they make important discoveries and collaborate in addressing the most important questions and challenges of our time.” 

Almost three-quarters of UIC research funding in fiscal year 2023 came from federal sources, led by $202 million from the National Institutes of Health. Other top sponsors included the National Science Foundation ($32 million), the U.S. Department of Defense ($21 million), the U.S. Department of Energy ($16 million) and the State of Illinois ($56 million). Private sponsors, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Bloomberg Foundation, awarded $70 million to UIC for research.  

New UIC projects funded in fiscal year 2023 included: 

The College of Medicine led all UIC colleges with $209 million in funding, followed by the School of Public Health ($54 million), College of Engineering ($45 million), College of Liberal Arts and Sciences ($45 million), College of Applied Health Sciences ($24 million) and College of Pharmacy ($21 million). 

Individual faculty members receiving the most research funding in 2023 included Dr. Martha Daviglus (Medicine), Robert Klie (Liberal Arts and Sciences, Department of Physics), Yittayih Zelalem (Urban Planning and Public Affairs), Lisa Powell (Public Health), Peter Nelson (Engineering) and Robin Mermelstein (Liberal Arts and Sciences, Department of Psychology).

A man points at a research poster while a second man wearing a backpack listens.
Student Edin Lopez presents a poster at the UIC Undergraduate Research Forum. (Photo: Henrique Cirne-Lima)

UIC students are significant contributors to research on campus. At the 2023 Undergraduate Research Forum, more than 300 students presented projects on subjects ranging from AI cancer detection and digital repression in Russia and China to corporate front groups and queer identity in Filipino American culture.   

Three UIC researchers received the prestigious NSF CAREER grant for early career development: Alessandra Eustaquio, who explores drug discovery and development from natural sources such as microorganisms; Vishesh Jain, who conducts research in probability, combinatorics and theoretical computer science; and Xiaorui Sun, who studies the design and analysis of algorithms.  

In addition to the $509 million in research funding, UIC reported more than $37 million in revenue from 282 active licenses of its intellectual property in the 2023 fiscal year.  

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