(Columbia) - As the University of South Carolina prepares to dedicate the first building of its research campus, University of South Carolina officials announced Thursday that faculty had garnered a record $173.3 million in federal, state and private funding for research, outreach and training programs in for the 2005-2006 school year.
The amount is a 4.3 percent increase over last year's $166.2 million.
President Andrew Sorensen said the funding includes an impressive $38.8 million from the National Institutes of Health.
"This is a 47 percent increase in NIH funding over the $26.4 million that USC received last year," Sorensen said. "An increase of this magnitude from one of the nation's most prestigious funding agencies is a tribute to the quality research that is being done by scientists across the university."
On Friday, the university will dedicate a new building for the Arnold School of Public Health. Located at the corner of College and Assembly streets, the five-story, $22-million structure is the cornerstone of Innovista, the university's research campus.
A grant of $17.3 million from NIH to bolster biomedical research and expand educational opportunities for undergraduates is being shared by USC, the lead institution, Clemson University, the Medical University of South Carolina, the College of Charleston and Claflin, Furman and Winthrop universities.
The University of South Carolina and Claflin are partners on a $7.5 million grant from NIH to eliminate health disparities in HIV/AIDS and cancer in the Palmetto State. The grant also will fund undergraduate research with scientists at both institutions.
"These NIH awards, among others, will improve the health and lives of South Carolinians and give students at colleges and universities throughout the state an opportunity to enhance their education through research," Sorensen said. "Students are working with top scientists, and these experiences will be invaluable for their future careers in research, medicine, education, science and technology."
The university launched its own Magellan Scholars Program last year to enrich the academic experience of its undergraduates through research in disciplines as varied as science, technology, medicine, theater, music and art. Already, 66 students have been named Magellan scholars, and another group will be announced later this year.
Dr. Harris Pastides, the university’s vice president of research and health sciences, said the funding shows that the university is making make strides in its research focus areas: biomedicine, nanotechnology, future fuels and the environment.
"This record level of research funding shows that our faculty, staff and students are dedicated to the key research areas where USC can make a difference," Pastides said.
"Our scientists are looking at ways to solve our country’s most pressing health problems, understand the emerging field of nanoscience, develop future fuels to curb the nation's dependence on foreign oil and protect our environment," he said. "Their research is critical to the future of our state and nation."