August 8, 2012

CU research attracts $815.3 million in sponsored funding

DENVER – Work by University of Colorado faculty garnered $815.3 million in sponsored research funding in fiscal year 2011-12, a rise of nearly $22 million over the previous fiscal year.

The preliminary figures indicate one of the highest research totals in CU history; the only higher total came in fiscal year 2009-10, when one-time federal stimulus dollars contributed to a final tally of $884.1 million. Last year’s total was $793.5 million.

Sponsored research funding from federal, state and local agencies targets specific projects to advance research in laboratories and in the field. Research funding also helps pay for research-related capital improvements, scientific equipment, travel and salaries for research and support staff and student assistantships. CU cannot divert these dollars to fund non-research related expenses such as utilities, compensation, student financial aid or grounds maintenance.

“The increase in this critical stream is an extremely positive reflection of academic and research advancement at CU,” said CU President Bruce D. Benson. “Our research benefits the greater good in Colorado and beyond, not only in scientific gain, but in economic development.”

Much sponsored research funding is directed to departments and researchers with unique expertise, such as biotechnology and aerospace, which stimulates industry. Via the CU Technology Transfer Office, CU research commercialization has led to the formation of 114 companies, 11 of which were established in fiscal year 2010-11.

Fiscal year 2011-12 sponsored research funding across CU, broken down by campus:

• University of Colorado Boulder, $380.7 million, including a five-year, $4.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to a CU-Boulder-led team working to better understand the electrical processes that connect the Earth with the atmosphere and with space. Among the effort’s goals are to improve data resolution and modeling capabilities to more realistically simulate complex processes and forecast disruptive events that may affect the planet’s environment.

• University of Colorado Colorado Springs, more than $5 million, including a five-year, $954,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy for the development of courses to prepare engineers for careers in developing new technologies in the design and implementation of electric vehicle drivetrains. The master’s-level courses will be taught by faculty from UCCS and CU-Boulder.

• University of Colorado Denver, $22.3 million, including a $1.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of English Language Acquisition and its National Professional Development program. Faculty at CU Denver’s School of Education and Human Development will lead the creation of online and professional communities in an effort to improve academic achievement, especially in the areas of math and science education for multilingual learners in urban K-12 schools.

• University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, $407.3 million, including a three-year, $1.5 million award from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to create the Center for Excellence in Research in Implementation Science and Prevention (CRISP). Primary care and public health experts will team for research on ways to improve preventive health services within primary health care settings.


The University of Colorado is a premier public research university with four campuses: the University of Colorado Boulder, the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, the University of Colorado Denver and the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Some 58,000 students are pursuing academic degrees at CU. Academic prestige is marked by the university’s four Nobel laureates, seven MacArthur “genius” Fellows, 18 alumni astronauts and 19 Rhodes Scholars. For more information about the entire CU system, and to access campus resources, go