After setting a university research record last year, USF brought its success to a higher level – a national level.
According to the Chronicle of Higher Education analysis this year, USF is the nation’s No. 1 university in terms of growth and expenditures in research from 2000-07.
“We have grown more in our research expenditures than any other university – and it’s 213 percent,” said Karen Holbrook, vice president of the Office of Research and Innovation.
Last year, USF received the most money in research grants in the school’s history, according to a release.
“When we closed the books at the end of the last fiscal year, we had $380.4 million that we counted in terms of research (grants),” Holbrook said.
The University applied for $169 million in federal grants this year. So far this semester, USF has received $4.3 million in research funding, said Rebecca Puig, assistant director of the Division of Sponsored Research. More grants will be awarded throughout the semester.
“It’s really created a strong bond with our campuses, because everyone is coming to the table,” Puig said.
Research grants are one-time money but are distributed over a two-year period, Holbrook said.
“The real question is what happens at the end of two years,” Holbrook said. “Are we all going to drop back? Are people going to lose jobs, or is the economy going to be robust enough to sustain them so it’s a real question.”
Some of the federal money must be used to create jobs, Holbrook said. When the University applies for grants, it has to explain how jobs will be created as a result of awarded money, Holbrook said.
USF’s Office of Research has to register with federalreporting.gov so it can report quarterly to the federal government on how the University is using the funds, Holbrook said. This is something that has never been required, she said.
Research funding is “totally critical” for students, and they can be taught what is happening in their fields now through research, Holbrook said.
“You have faculty who are not just using textbook materials to teach, but they’re creating knowledge. And so you have faculty who are on the cutting edge of their fields, which is very important … You can also engage students in research activity, and many faculty do,” Holbrook said.
Research funding allows for better equipment, better libraries and more opportunities for partnerships with other universities, and everything that comes in research builds the “student experience,” Holbrook said.
Undergraduate students can participate in undergraduate research at USF – something that not all universities offer, Holbrook said.
“Most (universities) are getting that way, but I think USF can be proud that we are one of the oldest, longest-existing universities to sponsor undergraduate research,” Holbrook said. “When I was at the University of Florida … We didn’t do undergraduate research, and I looked to USF as a model for doing undergraduate research. It has really been a very important part of what our students do.”
ResearchOne, a week of events starting today on campus, focuses on USF’s accomplishments in research and technological innovations. Throughout the week, the University will host panel discussions and awards ceremonies.
The focus of ResearchOne is innovation and invention, Puig said. About 120 USF faculty members will join an “Academy of Inventors” today as a part of the week, Holbrook said.
“The idea was to recognize those faculty who are not only researchers but are inventors, and to be a member of the academy you have to have one issued United States patent and we have a 120 faculty who do have at least (one) – which is really neat,” Holbrook said.
Other ResearchOne events include workshops and socials for students and faculty.
“It’s student, faculty, staff – it’s everybody,” Holbrook said. “A lot of the activities will go on in the Interdisciplinary Research building, but they will also take place in each college.”
For a full list of events, visit research.usf.edu.