Research grant funding rises 53% at UAMS

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Research funding at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) grew 53% during the last fiscal year, contributing to the Arkansas economy and bringing the potential to grow new businesses, noted a UAMS statement.

The total amount of grants for medical and basic scientific research during the fiscal year, which ended June 30, grew from $111.6 million in fiscal year 2016 to $170.6 million in fiscal year 2017.

The $170.6 million includes funding for research by UAMS faculty at UAMS as well as the Arkansas Children’s Research Institute (ACRI) and the Central Arkansas Veterans Health System (CAVHS). Scientists working at UAMS alone have received $29.9 million in grant awards in the first quarter of fiscal year 2018, which ended Sept. 30.

“UAMS’ grant funding looks very strong going into 2018,” said UAMS Interim Chancellor Stephanie Gardner. “Our research into new treatments, drug development, medical devices and new technologies has led to the establishment of new companies creating good-paying jobs and economic development.”

Several large grants, along with many significant but smaller awards, contributed to the strong performance in grant funding in fiscal year 2017.

In September 2016, UAMS was awarded $41.8 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to oversee a 17-site pediatric clinical trial network that will provide medically underserved and rural children access to clinical studies on the effect of environmental influences on early development. The one-time payment will be spent over a four-year period.

UAMS in October 2016 also received a five-year, $10 million grant from the NIH to study the causes and possible treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. In May, a group of UAMS researchers was awarded $11 million in federal funding by the National Institutes of Health’s Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) grant program for research projects related to cancer, Lyme disease, pneumonic plague and chlamydial infection.

“Advancing knowledge is central to the UAMS mission,” said Lawrence Cornett, Ph.D., UAMS vice chancellor for research. “The growth in research funding means that faculty along with their trainees and staff will be better positioned to continue their efforts to improve human health.”

UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; hospital; northwest Arkansas regional campus; statewide network of regional centers; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Myeloma Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging and Translational Research Institute. It is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 2,834 students, 822 medical residents and six dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses throughout the state, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health