2023 Research Funding — A UIC Milestone
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The University of Illinois Chicago received $509 million in research funding during the 2023 fiscal year – an all-time high for Chicago’s only public research university. The awards funded more than 3,400 projects spanning from the development of new medical treatments and evidence-based policies for violence prevention and sustainable cities to innovative research on health disparities, urban climate, manufacturing technologies and diversity in STEM education.
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$ 509 M in sponsored awards received.
$ 418 M in research expenditures .
3,451 research awards received.
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11 % funding increase since 2022.
49 % funding increase since 2018.
74 % of total funding came from federal sponsors.
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“Surpassing the half-billion-dollar milestone in research funding is a clear marker of the exceptional research program at the University of Illinois Chicago and the vitality of our mission to create knowledge that transforms the world. As a public university with 54% of undergraduates who are Pell recipients, this funding enables us to offer students from all backgrounds the opportunity to participate in world-class research. The funding also reflects our commitment to creating positive and enduring impact in science and society.”Chancellor, University of Illinois Chicago|
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“Our remarkable growth in research funding over the past five years highlights the breadth and depth of research at UIC, from the laboratory to the community. These awards support researchers from education, the humanities and public policy to the physical sciences, engineering and biomedicine as they make important discoveries and collaborate in addressing the most important questions and challenges of our time.”Vice Chancellor for Research, University of Illinois Chicago|
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Almost three-quarters of UIC research funding in fiscal year 2023 came from federal sources, led by $202 million from the National Institutes of Health. Other top sponsors included the National Science Foundation ($32 million), the U.S. Department of Defense ($21 million), the U.S. Department of Energy ($16 million) and the State of Illinois ($56 million). Private sponsors, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Bloomberg Foundation, awarded $70 million to UIC for research.
In addition to the $509 million in research funding, UIC reported more than $37 million in revenue from 282 active licenses of its intellectual property in the 2023 fiscal year. Read more at the UIC Office of Technology Management.
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New UIC projects funded in fiscal year 2023 included:
Researchers from the University of Illinois Chicago hope to learn more about how the human immune system is regulated by the endothelium in lung tissue, thanks to a $13 million, multi-project Program Project Grant award from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
The researchers hope that the projects will lead to new avenues for research and treatments to help patients who suffer from conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, pulmonary fibrosis and acute respiratory distress disorder, a common and serious complication of COVID-19.
Investigators: Dolly Mehta, Asrar Malik, Jalees Rehman, Konstantinos Chronis, Gary Mo, Yoshikazu Tsukasaki.
The University of Illinois Chicago is one of six institutions that will split an $8.8 million National Science Foundation grant to develop theories, research methods and tools to help expand and tailor the field of STEM education to support Black students.
The title of the project is, “Collaborative Research: EHR Racial Equity: Examining Blackness in Postsecondary STEM Education through a Multidimensional-Multiplicative Lens.” Other universities involved in the effort include Tennessee State University, the University of Texas at Austin, American University, Georgia State University and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.
Lead Investigator: Terrell Morton
A multi-institution partnership, involving Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Illinois Chicago in collaboration with other academic and community partners, was awarded $25 million over five years from the U.S. Department of Energy to study urban climate change effects at neighborhood, local and regional scales.
The group will establish an urban integrated field laboratory called Community Research on Climate and Urban Science, or CROCUS, focusing on the Chicago region. The lab will use community input to identify questions and specific areas of urban climate change to study, ensuring that research results directly benefit residents, particularly in disinvested communities. Researchers will also work with organizations and students to collect on-the-ground data and develop climate models relevant at the urban scale.
UIC Investigators: Max Berkelhammer, Ralph Cintron, Miquel Gonzalez-Meler, Akintomide Akinsanola, Jarrad Hampton-Marcell, Gavin McNicol, Gabriel Nunez-Mir, Kathryn Nagy and Elena Grossman.
A consortium led by the Nathalie P. Voorhees Center for Neighborhood and Community Improvement at the University of Illinois Chicago has been awarded a five-year, $5 million grant through the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Manufacturing Community Support Program.
The Voorhees Center, based in the UIC College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, will lead the Illinois Defense Manufacturing Consortium. Together the partners will launch a Casting, Forging, and Energy Storage Center of Excellence to “introduce new offerings, comprehensive solutions, innovative manufacturing technologies and state-of-the-art workforce training modules targeting underrepresented populations.”
Voorhees Center Director: Yittayih Zelalem
The new Behavioral Health Workforce Education Center will increase Illinois’ capacity to recruit, educate and retain behavioral health professionals, thanks in part to the UIC Jane Addams College of Social Work. The center, funded by a $5 million annual investment from the Department of Human Services, builds upon the state’s commitment to behavioral health transformation, strengthening behavioral health care infrastructure and access across Illinois.
The center will be housed at Southern Illinois University’s School of Medicine, with UIC’s College of Social Work, the Illinois Board of Higher Education and the Illinois Department of Human Services as core partners. The UIC Jane Addams College of Social Work will serve as a secondary hub, supporting specific data collection and training initiatives.
UIC Team: Rose Anderson, Sam Carpenter, Judith Cook, Ray Eads, Sean Johnson, Tanya Johnson, Jessica Jonikas, Sonya Leathers, Meredith Lee, Marvin Lindsey, Catherine Melka-Kaffer, Lisa Razzano, Bianca Schindeler, Amy Starin, Beck Stolberg, Carrie Welter
Through an $4 million National Science Foundation grant, UIC will be home to the world’s first analytical, aberration-corrected and monochromated transmission electron microscope with a magnetic field-free objective lens. The instrument will allow researchers to study nanoscale materials that approach the size of individual atoms.
These materials exhibit properties that are unique from larger scale substances, and they are essential to advancing a wide array of technologies, from magnetic data-storage systems to superconducting quantum computers to biomaterials and biomedical applications. Students and scientists at UIC, and across the Midwest and U.S., will also benefit from the microscope acquisition.
Investigators: Robert Klie, Russell Hemley, Jordi Cabana, Thomas Searles, Matthew Daly, Fengyuan Shi, Kevin Boergens, Rus Pesavento, Preston Snee, Jeremiah Abiade, Reza Shahbazian-Yassar
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The College of Medicine led all UIC colleges with $209 million in funding, followed by the School of Public Health ($54 million), College of Engineering ($45 million), College of Liberal Arts and Sciences ($45 million), College of Applied Health Sciences ($24 million) and College of Pharmacy ($21 million).
Three UIC researchers received the prestigious NSF CAREER grant for early career development: Alessandra Eustaquio, who explores drug discovery and development from natural sources such as microorganisms; Vishesh Jain, who conducts research in probability, combinatorics and theoretical computer science; and Xiaorui Sun, who studies the design and analysis of algorithms.
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Read about the UIC faculty members who received the most research funding in 2023.
Martha Daviglus, MD, PhD
Professor of Medicine, Director of the Institute for Minority Health Research, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research
Dr. Daviglus is a Professor of Medicine, Director of the Institute for Minority Health Research, and Associate Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). An alumna of UIC (class of 1995), she moved from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine to her alma mater (UIC) in June 2012. Her research activities have concentrated on the epidemiology and prevention of cardiovascular diseases and minority health disparities, for which she has received numerous grants and awards including the Established Investigator Award from the American Heart Association. Dr. Daviglus has had continuous funding from the National Institutes of Health since 1995 and has been involved in investigating associations of traditional cardiovascular and nutritional risk factors with long-term coronary and cardiovascular morbidity (clinical and subclinical) and mortality in middle-aged and older men and women. Dr. Daviglus’ other research interests focus on the benefits in older age, in terms of health care costs and health-related quality of life, of favorable (low risk) cardiovascular risk profile earlier in life, and on women’s health. Dr. Daviglus is the principal investigator on a number of longitudinal studies including on the Hispanic Community Health Study/ Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL) Chicago Field Center, the Chicago Healthy Aging Study, and the UIC Cohort of Patients, Family, and Friends. She also serves as Director of a National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Research Training Program on Cardiovascular Epidemiology and Prevention.
Robert Klie, PhD
Dr. Robert F Klie, Professor of Physics, specializes in Experimental Condensed Matter Physics and is a renowned leader in the field of analytical characterization of functional and regenerative materials using electron microscopy. He is the Director of the Nanoscale Physics Group at UIC, the Academic Director of the Electron Microscopy Core Facilities at the Research Resources Center at UIC, and the UIC Strategic Lead for Advanced Imaging.
Dr. Klie’s Nanoscale Physics Group pursues the development of novel materials characterization approaches using electron microscopy and their applications to materials for energy storage, conversion and quantum computing. In particular, his group has focused on developing novel in-situ, atomic-resolution characterization methods for liquid-phase, cryo- as well as high-temperature measurements of a material’s local atomic and electronic structures. Dr. Klie is also leading an effort at UIC in Functional and Regenerative Materials (FRM) which seeks to develop new materials for medical or bio-engineering applications to enable translational and applied research. The FRM working group is composed of faculty at UIC health sciences colleges, as well as the College of Engineering and the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.
Yittayih Zelalem, JD, LLM, MS
Yittayih Zelalem is Director of the Nathalie P. Voorhees Center for Neighborhood and Community Improvement and a Research Associate Professor of Urban Planning and Policy in the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs. Mr. Zelalem worked as Director of Housing Policy Analysis at the Chicago Rehab Network prior to coming to the Voorhees Center. In addition, he has worked for over half a dozen years as Director of Property Development and Executive Director of several CDCs in Chicago. Mr. Zelalem was also professor of law at the Addis Ababa University Law School in Ethiopia and currently teaches development financing courses. Mr. Zelalem has law degrees from Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia and the Yale Law School, as well as a Masters Degree in Urban Development.
The Voorhees Center is a unit of the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for all residents of the City of Chicago and the metropolitan area. While rooted in Chicago, the center’s community-driven and interdisciplinary approach has connected it with communities across the region, nation, and abroad.
Lisa M. Powell, PhD
Lisa M. Powell, Ph.D. is a Distinguished Professor and Director in the Division Health Policy and Administration in the School of Public Health and Director of the Illinois Prevention Research Center in the Institute for Health Research and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Powell has extensive experience as an applied micro-economist in the empirical analysis of the effects of public policy on a series of behavioral outcomes. Much of her current research is on assessing the importance of economic and environmental factors (such as food prices, sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) taxes; access to food stores, fast-food restaurants, other eating places, and facilities for physical activity; and, television food advertising exposure) on food consumption and physical activity behaviors and as determinants of obesity, including related disparities. Her work has made substantial contributions to the evidence base for policymakers in the areas of SSB taxes and child-directed marketing. Dr. Powell is the recipient of the 2013 University of Illinois at Chicago Researcher of the Year Award in the Social Sciences. Dr. Powell’s research has been funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and she serves on a number of national and international expert advisory committees.
Peter Nelson, PhD
Peter Nelson was appointed Dean of the University of Illinois Chicago’s (UIC) College of Engineering in 2008. Prior to assuming his deanship, Professor Nelson was head of the UIC Department of Computer Science. In 1991, Professor Nelson founded UIC’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, which specializes in applied intelligence systems projects in fields such as transportation, manufacturing, bioinformatics and e-mail spam countermeasures.
Professor Nelson has published more than 80 scientific peer-reviewed papers and has been the principal investigator on over $40 million in research grants and contracts on issues of importance such as computer-enhanced transportation systems, manufacturing, design optimization, and bioinformatics. These projects have been funded by organizations such as the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. Department of Transportation and Motorola. In 1994-1995, Professor Nelson’s laboratory, sponsored by the Illinois Department of Transportation, developed the first real-time traffic congestion map on the World Wide Web, which now receives more than 100 million hits per year.
Professor Nelson received his undergraduate degree in mathematics and computer science from North Park University and his MS and PhD degrees in computer science from Northwestern University.
Robin Mermelstein, PhD
Dr. Robin Mermelstein, a professor of psychology and distinguished professor of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, directs the Institute for Health Research and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She also is a clinical professor of community health sciences in the UIC School of Public Health, an assistant dean of the UIC College of Medicine, and the co-principal director of the UIC Center for Clinical and Translational Science.
Her research interests fall broadly in the area of tobacco use, with studies ranging from longitudinal examinations of the etiology of youth smoking to cessation interventions for adult smokers.
Since the mid 1990s, Dr. Mermelstein has been the principal investigator of a series of studies, including two consecutive program projects funded by the National Cancer Institute, to investigate trajectories of smoking patterns among adolescents and young adults, with a focus on social and emotional contextual factors.
In addition, she has been funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to examine factors related to youth smoking, and by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and NCI for studies of adult smoking cessation. Other areas of research focus include health behaviors of young adults and motivational interventions to increase smoking cessation.
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Awards support research not only by UIC’s diverse array of 3,000 faculty members, but also our student body of 7,316 graduate students and 22,107 undergraduates, as well as 271 postdoctoral researchers.
UIC students are significant contributors to research on campus. At the 2023 Undergraduate Research Forum, more than 300 students presented projects on subjects ranging from AI cancer detection and digital repression in Russia and China to corporate front groups and queer identity in Filipino American culture.