University of Kansas research spending has biggest 4 years ever, but poor overall prognosis

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LAWRENCE, Kansas — Research spending at the University of Kansas has seen its strongest four-year span ever, but the overall outlook is not good.

The Lawrence Journal-World (http://bit.ly/1D6kXPm ) reports that the school's externally sponsored research expenditures at all of its campuses totaled more than $1 billion. The university's expenditures from all sources, however, fell during fiscal year 2014 due to the federal budget sequester and declining purchasing power for federally funded research

According to the university, externally sponsored expenditures totaled $238.8 million last year, compared with $260.5 million in 2013 and $275.2 million in 2012. The school said that was a high point under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The university says that it receives about 85 percent of its research support from the federal government.

"Other universities are experiencing the same pressures we are," Mary Lee Hummert, the university's interim vice chancellor for research, said in a news release. "KU's strong focus at both campuses on human health and development attracts support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Department of Education. About half our research funding comes from those agencies, so flat or falling levels of support hit KU especially hard."

According to Hummert, the success rate for NIH proposals range from about 1 in 10 to about 1 in 4, depending on the institute.

The university says it's looking to other sources for funding.

"For example, we've had success obtaining funding in the past year from the nonprofit Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute," Richard Barohn, vice chancellor for research at KU Medical Center, said in a news release. "So while some resources are diminishing, others are opening up. We have to be flexible and adapt to a changing environment."


Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, http://www.ljworld.com

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