Record-Breaking Year for Research Funding in Fiscal Year 2019

Dear colleagues,

We are pleased to share the exciting news that UCI researchers have received the most support in campus history – $441 million in grants and contracts – for fiscal year 2019, a 22 percent increase over previous year totals. Of this total, $267 million was from federal government sources, also an all-time record high and an increase of 17% over the previous year.

This milestone signifies progress toward our campus strategic plan goal of $500 million in annual research expenditures while accelerating UCI’s ascent among its Association of American Universities peers, having a meaningful impact on regional economic development and making strides to improve society through globally prominent research. This tremendous success is a testament to the academic excellence and creativity of our faculty, students and staff, especially in view of the fierce competition for such resources.

The growth in research funding was distributed across most schools, research centers and institutes. Increased support was seen from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Education, among other federal agencies, as well as philanthropic foundations and the state of California.


  • UCI Health experienced the greatest boost in research funding.
    • The $155 million received by the School of Medicine accounted for 35 percent of UCI’s fiscal year 2019 total and was a 23 percent increase over last year.
    • $30 million went to UCI MIND, the Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders, 39 percent more than in the previous year.
    • The Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center garnered $25 million, a 21 percent jump from last year, for research, patient care and clinical trials.
    • The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine awarded $10.3 million to Leslie Thompson, professor of psychiatry & human behavior and neurobiology & behavior, and Magdalene Seiler, assistant professor in residence of physical medicine & rehabilitation, both affiliated with the Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center. With a $5.6 million grant, Thompson continues to advance stem cell-based therapies for Huntington’s disease, while Seiler will explore methods of creating stem cell-derived retinas to treat eye degeneration diseases with a $4.7 million grant.
  • The School of Physical Sciences received $62 million, representing a 55 percent increase over last year.
  • The School of Education jumped to $27 million from $10 million in the previous year.
    • Carol Booth Olson, professor of education, received an Education Innovation & Research expansion grant of $14.7 million from the U.S. Department of Education to expand the Pathway to Academic Success Project, which helps close reading and writing achievement gaps among high-needs students in grades seven to 11.
    • The school received $1.115 million from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to establish a national pilot site – called the Next-Generation Undergraduate Success Measurement Project – that will study approaches to increase understanding of what makes a liberal arts education valuable.
  • $4.6 million was provided by the California Strategic Growth Council for a multi-institutional project to develop new tools and methods for better managing the state’s forests and wildlands. Michael Goulden, professor of Earth system science, is playing a lead role in developing the new Innovation Center for Advancing Ecosystem Climate Solutions, a three-year project with the goals of improving long-term carbon sequestration, reducing wildfire risk and bolstering resilience in the face of climate change.
  • A four-year, $9 million grant aimed at determining the long-term impact of cannabis exposure on the adolescent brain was awarded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse to Daniele Piomelli, UCI’s Louise Turner Arnold Chair in Neurosciences and director of the UCI’s Center for the Study of Cannabis.

Additional data on UCI’s fiscal year 2019 research funding

  • $157 million, a 20 percent increase over last year, came from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, which encompasses the National Institutes of Health, making it the largest single source of research funding at UCI.
  • Foundations and charitable trusts provided $62 million in private support, 15 percent more than in the previous year.
  • The National Science Foundation awarded UCI $55 million, a 10 percent boost.
  • $45.2 million in grant and corporate support was received for clinical trials.
  • 825 new awards were bestowed during the fiscal year.
  • 271 UCI researchers garnered new funding.
  • 39.6 percent of support came from nonfederal sources.

We genuinely thank all faculty, staff and students for their dedicated efforts that led to this great achievement for UCI. An event to celebrate their successes is being planned for later this year.


Enrique J. Lavernia, Ph.D.
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Distinguished Professor, Department of Materials Science & Engineering
Pramod Khargonekar
Vice Chancellor for Research
Distinguished Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science

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