Growth in private research funding helps offset federal funding decrease in 2013

The University of Chicago received $450 million in sponsored research funding in fiscal year 2013. Despite a 3.5 percent decrease in overall sponsored research funding and a 5 percent decrease in federal funding from the previous year, the University received a 19 percent increase in funding from private foundations in 2013. Non-federal sponsored research support from corporations, foundations, other non-profit organizations and state and local governments also increased 1.6 percent in 2013. From all sources, there were a total of 76 budget period awards worth over $1 million each.

Department of Health and Human Services funding, which represents half of the University’s total funding and 67 percent of total federal funding, fell 8.5 percent in 2013 from the previous year. National Science Foundation funding also decreased slightly from 2012. Department of Education funding, however, increased 42 percent from 2012.

This year the University received 809 DHHS awards, primarily from the National Institutes of Health, compared with 718 received in FY’12. Among them:

Gini Fleming, professor of medicine and director of the Medical Oncology of Breast and Gynecologic Cancer Program, received a $2.2 million sub-award for Cancer & Leukemia Group B: a national clinical research group that brings together oncologists and laboratory investigators to develop better treatments for cancer.

Andrzej Joachimiak, senior fellow of the Institute for Genomics and Systems Biology and the Computation Institute, received $6.6 million for The Midwest Center for Structural Genomics, which will go into initiatives that will examine proteins potentially responsible for the virulence of three of the world’s most dangerous bacteria: staphylococcus, tuberculosis and salmonella.

Anthony Kossiakoff, the Otho S.A. Sprague Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics, received $3.2 million to build a high throughput pipeline to generate high-performance recombinant antibodies to all the human transcription factors.

Eduardo Perozo, professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics, received $4.6 million for the creation of the Membrane Protein Structural Dynamics Consortium, a highly interactive, tightly integrated and multidisciplinary effort focused on elucidating the relationship between structure, dynamics and function in a variety of membrane proteins.

Nanduri Prabhakar, professor of medicine and director of the Systems Committee on Cellular and Molecular Physiology, received $2.3 million to study the physiological consequences of chronic hypoxia, a condition in which the body or a region of the body is deprived of adequate oxygen supply.

Olaf Schneewind, the Louis Block Professor and Chair of the Department of Microbiology, and director of the Great Lakes Regional Center of Excellence, was awarded $6.9 million for development of new vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics to counteract diseases caused by bio-threat agents.

Julian Solway, the Walter L. Palmer Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics and associate dean for translational medicine, received $3.7 million from NIH for the University’s Clinical and Translational Science Award program. This award program will prepare the next generation of clinical and translational researchers to reduce health disparities in the community by making widely-available, effective and personalized therapies.

Kevin White, the James and Karen Frank Family Professor of Ecology and Evolution, and director and principle investigator of The Chicago Center for Systems Biology, received $2.9 million to support the center’s study on how networks of genes work together to enable cells and organisms to respond to environmental and genetic change.


The National Science Foundation provided approximately one-fifth of total federal funding to the University. NSF funding decreased slightly in 2013 versus previous years, despite a 14 percent increase in total number of awards. Among the University’s 253 NSF awards are:

Jeanne Century, director of science education, research and evaluation in the University of Chicago Center for Elementary Mathematics and Science Education (CEMSE)—a research and development center whose research targets questions of key importance and concern to practitioners and leaders of education improvement efforts—received $1.9 million to identify and measure the implementation and impact of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) school models.

Ian Foster, director of the Computation Institute, the Arthur Holly Compton Distinguished Service Professor of Computer Science and associate director of the Mathematics and Computer Science Division at Argonne National Laboratory, received $1.7 million for the Institute’s work on the architecture, user access services and software development of the Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE): the most advanced, powerful and robust collection of integrated digital resources and services in the world used by scientists to interactively share computing resources, data and expertise. He also received $1.2 million for the Center for Robust Decision Making on Climate and Energy Policy, which conducts multi-disciplinary research aimed at improving the computational models needed to evaluate climate and energy policies and to make robust decisions based on outcomes.

Ka Yee C. Lee, professor of chemistry and director of the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, received $5.3 million to support the center’s innovative research to produce design principles for the next generation of materials.

Mark Rivers, executive director of the Center for Advanced Radiation Sources (CARS), received $5 million for GeoSoilEnviroCARS, a national user facility for frontier research in the earth sciences using synchrotron radiation at the Advanced Photon Source, Argonne National Laboratory.

Michael Turner, the Bruce & Diana Rauner Distinguished Service Professor in Astronomy & Astrophysics and director of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, received $3.1 million for the Physics Frontier Center that seeks to push cosmology to the edge—to reveal and clarify the new physics underpinning it or to find the flaw within the current paradigm.


Maureen Coleman, assistant professor of geophysical sciences, received $2.5 million from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation for a project investigating how nutrients and viruses together control phytoplankton abundance and diversity in the oceans. Her research explores how microbial populations evolve in natural environments and how their metabolic activity drives biogeochemical cycles.

James Evans, associate professor of sociology and fellow at the Computation Institutereceived $5.2 million to launch the Knowledge Lab—a new research center dedicated to using text-mining, network theory and other computational techniques to study the creation, evolution and spread of human knowledge.

Camille Farrington, research associate (assistant professor) at the UChicago Consortium on Chicago School Research and School of Social Service Administration, received $800,000 from the Raikes Foundation for her study of eighth- and ninth-grade teachers in the Chicago Public School System as they learn to develop students' academic mindsets, behaviors and learning strategies to improve academic performance. She received an additional $492,000 from the Raikes Foundation for a survey development project to improve the measurement of a broad range of student non-cognitive factors and their relationship to classroom, instructional and teacher variables in grades 6-12.

Susan Gal, the Mae & Sidney G. Metzl Distinguished Service Professor of Anthropology and Linguistics, received $368,000 from the U.S. Department of Education for the Center for Eastern European and Russian/Eurasian Studies (CEERES) instruction and research.

Thomas Gajewski, professor of pathology and medicine at the Ben May Department for Cancer Research, received $5.5 million from Bristol-Myers Squibb Company to develop new immunotherapies and conduct trials for patients with melanoma and other cancers.

Deborah Gorman Smith, professor of social service administration and principal investigator and director of the Chicago Center for Youth Violence Prevention, received $1.4 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in support of the center’s work to build an integrative approach to address youth violence in Chicago.

James Heckman, the Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor of Economics, received $800,000 from The Pritzker Children's Initiative, a project of the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation. Their support continues the development of a strategic communications program to provide the field, the media and policymakers enough resources and access to his research findings to ensure that policy decisions regarding human capital development and investment are made based on solid evidence, in order to maximize human potential.

Susan Levine, the Rebecca Anne Boylan Professor in Psychology, received $897,000 from the National Science Foundation for the Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center (SILC), one of five NSF-funded Science of Learning Centers that brings together scientists and educators from many different institutions to pursue the overarching goal of increasing our understanding spatial learning—a kind of learning that is a significant predictor of success in the STEM disciplines. SILC researchers are also engaged in developing programs and technologies that will transform educational practice, helping learners to develop the skills required to compete in a global economy.

Paul Nealey, the Brady W. Dougan Professor in Molecular Engineering, received $550,000 from the Semiconductor Research Corporation for the Institute for Molecular Engineering, whose work explores innovative technologies in nanoscale manipulation and design at a molecular scale that have the potential for societal impact in such areas as energy, health care and the environment.

Sara Ray Stoelinga, senior director of the Urban Education Institute and associate clinical professor in the University of Chicago Committee on Education, received $4 million from the McKnight Foundation for coordination of technical assistance and knowledge sharing with the McKnight Foundation Education and Learning Initiative, which seeks to increase the percentage of successful third-grade readers in the Twin Cities.