TAMPA — University of South Florida president Judy Genshaft said Wednesday that the school is excelling in the key area of research funding, which was higher than expected last year despite federal cutbacks.
The announcement came during her annual fall address to faculty and students in the Marshall Student Center's Oval Theater.
USF received $413.6 million in new research contracts and grants for the 2012-13 academic year, beating the previous year's total of $411 million, Genshaft said.
"This is spectacular and a true testament to just how focused, strong and determined our faculty and researchers are," she said. "We are defying the conventional wisdom by being more competitive in a year where federal budget cuts have made grants more difficult to win."
Research is a big focus area for USF — it separates schools on a reputation level and builds important partnerships in the community. And, it's one element state lawmakers use when doling out funding based on performance.
USF research grants and contracts have totaled more than $1.2 billion over the past three years, with research funding growing by 62 percent over a decade. In the past year, USF received awards including:
• $45 million for Type 1 diabetes research.
• $3.9 million for engineering work involving wastewater.
• $3.3 million to study the decision to disclose HIV to family members.
• $2.8 million to follow breast cancer patients undergoing genetic testing.
• $2.1 million to study a self-care management approach to cancer symptoms.
• $731,356 to develop new technologies to help soldiers in the field.
Genshaft praised the university's recent $621 million fundraising campaign, its ranking as an "up-and-coming" university by U.S. News and World Report, and the recent bonus of $2.6 million in performance funding approved by the State University System. But she also addressed the deep financial strain the university has been feeling after years of state cutbacks.
"We have to be strategic in how we use our resources," she said. "That's the reality. This is the new normal in higher education."
She also announced new details about a pool of money to give staff raises. She said $8 million would be available starting Jan. 1, dedicated to "meaningful" merit raises for high-performing faculty and staff. And, she said to applause, most staff would get an extra day off around the holidays.
Stephanie Hayes can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 226-3394.