University sees $3 million growth in grant funding

The University received a record amount of grant money last fiscal year, despite the wavering economy and a decline in the amount of grant money available.

GW received more than $172 million in grants and contract revenues in the 2010 fiscal year, which ran from July 1, 2009, to June 30, 2010. The total is more than $3 million greater than the previous fiscal year, an increase University officials said they hope to see grow even larger within the next decade.

“We would like to be well above $200 million in a relatively short period of time,” Leo Chalupa, the vice president for research, said. “How short? Say three to four years.”

The University has taken dramatic steps to increase its research profile, and each department has been encouraged to hire one faculty member whose job is to apply for federal and private grants on a regular basis, Chalupa said.

“Only 10 to 15 percent of the applications are funded these days, so the fact that we are moving up is basically a test to the superior faculty that we have in those areas,” Chalupa said.

The University declined to give a breakdown on where the grant money was awarded, but the GW Medical Center received upwards of $51 million in federal and private grants for research since January, an official at the Medical Center said.

The Medical Center received a $12.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health in October as part of a massive federal initiative to fund AIDS relief efforts in sub-Saharan Africa.

Dr. John “Skip” Williams, the senior vice provost and vice president for health affairs said the increase in grant awards and contracts this year is most notably due to University President Steven Knapp’s call to make the University more research-focused.

Improving the University’s research status has been one of Knapp’s main priorities since he arrived at GW in 2007 from his post as provost at Johns Hopkins University, one of the country’s premier research institutions. The Innovation Task Force was also launched in part to provide additional funds for research.

“We intend to grow our research portfolio, especially because of Knapp’s goal of becoming a research-one institution,” Williams said.

While the medical community on campus is receiving support through outside funding, Chalupa said he is seeking to increase grant and contract revenue across the entire University.

“Remember something: The more research money our faculty are able to get, the more money that comes back to the University,” Chalupa said. “My motto is, ‘The best is yet to come.'”

Emily Cahn and Dimple Marchiadani contributed to this report.

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