With awards totaling $446M, UIC sets record for annual research funding 

The University of Illinois Chicago received $446 million in sponsored funding during the 2021 fiscal year, setting a record for research awards.  

The total amount represents an 8.6% increase over fiscal year 2020, with funding supporting over 3,500 research projects that move research to practical application. UIC’s research impact spans the globe through initiatives such as developing treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, reshaping education equity and access, and creating more sustainable environments around the world.    

“Another record year for our research portfolio highlights our culture of innovation and our commitment to the creation and application of new knowledge. Our researchers’ relentless devotion to discoveries that improve lives solidifies UIC’s reputation as one of the world’s top research universities,” UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis said. 

Federal awards account for 76% of this funding, with the National Institutes of Health providing the largest amount — nearly $205 million. Other top sponsors include the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Defense and the State of Illinois. Private sponsors have contributed $69 million to support UIC’s research. 

“Federal funding remains a critical resource for the continued success of our scientists, clinician investigators, engineersdata analysts and support staffThe nearly $340 million we received in federal awards enable the discoveries that test new ideas, address critical problems locally and globally, and train the next generation of researchers,” UIC Vice Chancellor for Research Joanna Groden said.  

Funded projects include $8.7 million from Bloomberg Philanthropies for researchers to provide policy support for effective taxation of tobacco products; $4 million from the Department of Energy to explore the behavior of matter and materials in extreme environments; and $4 million from the NIH’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases to study drug targets to treat osteoarthritis. 

Additional highlights include: 

  • Investigating delay, reliability and rate tradeoffs in Wi-Fi ($1.2 million from the National Science Foundation over four years).  
  • Investigating the impact supportive policies have on stress, drinking and health among underserved women ($3.4 million from the NIH’s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism over five years). 
  • Exploring and understanding the plasticity circuits in Alzheimer’s disease ($2.7 million from the NIH’s National Institute on Aging).
  • Preparing educators to teach the underserved through the Chicago Early Childhood Preparation and Pathway Partnership ($3.8 million over four years from the U.S. Department of Education).
  • Using artificial intelligence to bolster real-time traffic information throughout the Midwest and to address impacts of traffic and congestion on the economy, the environment and the safety of drivers ($5.7 million from the Illinois Department of Transportation).  
  • Supporting critical clinical and translational health research programs ($22 million over five years from the NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences). 

Projects related to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic accounted for over $51 million in funding, an increase of 59% over last year. Nearly 200 existing and new projects received grants, supporting research in both health and social impact areas. Projects include: $6.2 million from the NIH for the clinical trials of the mRNA SARS-CoV-2 vaccine in adults; $3.1 million from the NIH National Cancer Institute to study wearable technology to monitor COVID-19 symptoms; and $1.1 million from the Walder Foundation to investigate self-testing and mobile technologies in underserved communities. 

In addition to the $446 million in research funding, UIC reported over $34 million in revenue from 322 active licenses of its intellectual property in FY 2021. 

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