USF enters elite class in research expenditures

The new rankings by the National Science Foundation places USF in the top 50 among all U.S. universities.
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(PR NewsChannel) / April 13, 2012 / TAMPA, Fla. 
University of South Florida - 50th in research

Photo credit: WUSF news

The University of South Florida now ranks 50th in the nation for research expenditures, among all U.S. universities, public or private.

The new ranking by the National Science Foundation places USF in the elite class of research universities, joining Johns Hopkins, Stanford, Yale and Harvard within the top rankings nationwide. USF is second in Florida only to the University of Florida.

The rankings cover fiscal year 2010 – the most recent figures available – and shows USF rising from 65 in the previous 2007 NSF survey to its current rank of 50. USF places 50th for both federal expenditures in research and total expenditures in research from all sources.

During FY 2010, USF had $385 million in total research expenditures, of which $243 million was federally financed.

“The ranking shows USF’s maturity as a research university and the success of our research faculty in responding to the needs of a great metropolitan area,” said Paul Sanberg, Ph.D., DSc, vice president for research and innovation. “USF believes in real world research. That’s why our expertise can be found in such areas as health, water, engineering, mental health, aging and our veterans – those are all areas our region needs.

“What is important about the research dollars is how we translate them into economic development and jobs,” Sanberg said. “Most of our dollars are coming from outside the state. This creates new technology jobs, supports students and enhances their educational experience, and helps create a knowledge-based industry in the Tampa Bay region.”

Sanberg said the future of research at USF will involve more partnerships with firms like SRI, IRx and Draper Laboratories – major research facilities attracted to the area because of potential partnerships with the university.

The largest single group of research grants at USF are earned by the pediatric epidemiology center, headed by Jeffrey Krischer, Ph.D. His team leads international trials aimed at finding causes and treatments of type 1 diabetes, other immune diseases, and hosts the nation’s Rare Disease Clinical Research Network.

USF has been growing its international research, and last week appointed Karen A. Holbrook, Ph.D., as senior vice president for USF World and International Research.

“We continue to see our faculty in a multitude of disciplines working abroad and forging collaborations with colleagues at more than 220 partner universities where USF has signed agreements,” Holbrook said. “These relationships also benefit our students, graduate, undergraduate and professionals, who are part of shaping the entire world around us, and they enhance the reputation of USF globally.”

Examples of USF research with major funding:

· USF College of Nursing’s RESTORE LIVES initiative: A $2.1 million interdisciplinary project supporting five studies to develop and evaluate treatments for combat-related psychological problems, including PTSD, experienced by military personnel returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Kevin Kip, Ph.D. is principal investigator for RESTORE Lives.

· Nanomedicine Research Center: Researching ways to fight respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), lung diseases and other chronic inflammatory diseases with fewer side effects using the tiny weapons of nanotechnology. Headed by Shyam Mohapatra, Ph.D.

· USF Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute: Increased new grant funding to $9.3 M in 2010-11, up from $500,000in 2009-2010, much of it NIH funding. Focus on preclinical and translational studies to find new ways to eliminate the hallmark proteins associated with Alzheimer’s from the brain. Contacts David Morgan, Ph.D. and Dr. Amanda Smith.

· Malaria Research: Funded by the Gates Foundation, the College of Public Health’s Global Health Infectious Diseases Research Team works with Draper Laboratory to create advanced devices to accelerate the discovery of new therapies for preventing and curing malaria. Contact is Dennis Kyle, Ph.D.

· USF College of Engineering: A three-year NSF grant totaling $368,000 to research the creation of shape-shifting surfaces which have the potential for widespread application and has opened up new research avenues for a myriad of other scientists. Craig Lusk, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and principal investigator in collaboration with Alex Volinsky, Ph.D., associate professor of mechanical engineering and co-principal investigator.

· Climate and Environmental Change: A $974,000 NSF grant to bridge the gap between what science understands about climate and environmental change and how that information is incorporated into public education. The team includes the Hillsborough County School System, the Florida Aquarium and the University of Puerto Rico. USF Geology Professor and Department Chair Jeffrey Ryan, Ph.D., is the lead researcher.

· Globalization Impact on Costa Rica: Ecotourism thrives but brings with it unintended health consequences to residents, including obesity, sexually-transmitted diseases and substance abuse are among the outside maladies that have found their way to the mountains near Monte. USF Professors Nancy Romero-Daza, Ph.D. and David Himmelgreen, Ph.D., lead the study.

· Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Impact: An NSF Rapid Response grant in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Study focused on the beaches of Florida’s Panhandle and discovered buried oil. USF Geology Professor Ping Wang, Ph.D. was lead.

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SOURCE:  University of South Florida

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