The University of Oregon once again saw increased grant funding during fiscal year 2022-2023 (FY 23), a key predictor of research growth. Beyond that metric, faculty at early and mid-career levels received prestigious awards or were named fellows of national research societies. Major grants for earthquake and mass timber research, as well as new opportunities for undergraduate students to engage in research were also highlights of the year.
“The University of Oregon has a tremendous impact on the state,” said Anshuman “AR” Razdan, vice president for research and innovation. “Training the next generation, fostering a culture of creative excellence, and contributing to research that helps communities make decisions about major events, such as economic growth rooted in natural resources or how to respond to disasters, are some of the many ways the UO’s research enterprise affects everyone in the state.”
The University of Oregon was awarded $180.2 million in sponsored projects in FY 23, a .3% increase over FY 22. Faculty submitted 1,045 proposals, 541 of which were funded.
Most funding (81%) came from federal sources. Approximately 35% of federal funds are from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 22% are from the National Science Foundation (NSF), 16% are from the Department of Education, and the remaining 27% are from other agencies. Sixty-six percent of the awarded funds were for research projects, 2% for instruction, and the remaining 32% were designated for other uses, such as public service.
Research expenditures also increased 5% from FY 22 to $162 million.
Celebrating Faculty Achievements
UO faculty contribute to new discoveries, innovation, and scholarship that advance wide-ranging fields of study. Grants and recognition for their efforts accelerate the success of early-career faculty, enabling them to achieve significant contributions to their discipline and establish a robust research portfolio as they pursue promotion and tenure. As faculty progress in their careers, the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation (OVPRI) seeks to amplify the impact of their scholarly and research contributions, supporting efforts to secure prestigious awards and honors for senior faculty in recognition of their achievements.
The following assistant professors received prestigious early-career research awards during the 2022-2023 fiscal year:
- Amanda Cook-Sneathen, Chemistry, National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award
- Thomas Giachetti, Earth Science, NSF CAREER Award.
- Christopher Hendon, Chemistry, NSF CAREER Award.
- Marian Hettiaratch, Knight Campus, NSF CAREER Award.
- Mariah Kornbluh, Psychology, William T. Grant Scholar Recipient.
- Thien Nguyen, Computer & Information Science, NSF CAREER Award.
- Lauren Ponisio, Early Career Fellowship from the Ecological Society of America.
- Humphry Shi, Computer & information Science, NSF CAREER Award.
- Emily Sylwestrak, Biology, Klingenstein-Simons Fellowship Award.
- Julia Widom, Chemistry, National Institutes of Health (NIH) Early Investigator MIRA.
The following faculty received major career honors:
- Shannon Boettcher named the Blavatnik National Laureate in Chemistry.
- Trudy Ann Cameron, Economics, and Raghuveer Parthasarathy, Physics, were elected as Fellows to the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Training the Next Generation
The University of Oregon is committed to recruiting and retaining diverse scholars and preparing them to be the next generation of leaders. OVPRI boasts several unique training programs that provide comprehensive mentorship and support to undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral scholars. Notable achievements this year include:
- Renewal of the 30+ year NIH-funded Genetics Training Program for graduate students.
- 10 graduate students, in fields including planetary science, bioengineering, and psychology, received the prestigious Graduate Research Fellowship award from the NSF.
- The launch of the Hui Undergraduate Research Scholars Program, which supports students from historically marginalized communities to engage in STEM research, receiving financial support and participating in professional development activities.
- Funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities to develop a new Global Public Humanities undergraduate major.
The University of Oregon boasts historic and emerging areas of research strength that enable leading researchers to establish nationally recognized centers of excellence across diverse knowledge domains. Such centers build cross-institutional partnerships, offer unique training opportunities to students, and contribute to the institution’s reputation as a leading public research university. This year, the UO established (and renewed) several high-visibility research centers that will enable continued leadership in areas ranging from natural hazards, economic development, language study, and education:
- With support from a $15 million NSF award, the Cascadia Region Earthquake Science Center (CRESCENT) will lead research on the Cascadia Subduction Zone while diversifying the geoscience workforce, providing training in cutting-edge skills, and improving connections across the subduction zone geohazards community of practice.
- Funded through an EPA investment secured by members of the Oregon Congressional delegation, the Center for Wildfire Smoke Research and Practice is a practice-driven, applied research program that helps communities, policymakers, and local governments across Oregon be better prepared for wildfire smoke events.
- The UO Economic Development Administration University Center, led by the Institute for Policy Research and Engagement, was renewed for another five years. This center provides technical assistance and enhances programmatic capacity to EDA partners, trade associations, and businesses across Oregon, enhancing the state’s economic resilience, equity, and workforce development.
- Faculty in Linguistics received funding from US Department of Education to establish the UO Language Resource Center: Responsive Support for Meaningful World Language Learning. This grant will support the Center for Applied Second Language Studies in providing innovative solutions for K-16 language learning in foreign, second, and heritage contexts.
- The Center on Human Development in the College of Education received funding from the US Department of Health and Human Services for the University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, Education, and Service. The center offers interdisciplinary training, community services delivery, capacity building, and technical assistance to improve the quality of life, independence, and social inclusion for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.
Social and Economic Impact
As a public research institution, the UO strives to contribute knowledge, discoveries, and innovation to address societal challenges and contribute to economic impact. This past year, the UO advanced its position as a leader in contributing to the social and economic wellbeing of the state and region through several institutional efforts and major grants:
- In March, the UO and the UO Foundation jointly established Launch Oregon, LLC, to empower and enable university innovators to translate discoveries into commercially viable startup companies. The Translational Opportunity Program, led by the Industry, Innovation, and Partnership unit within OVPRI, provides mentorship and resources to UO faculty, establishing a pipeline of projects to be supported through company formation and growth via Launch Oregon.
- Researchers in the College of Design, in partnership with the Port of Portland, Oregon State University, Business Oregon, Oregon Department of Forestry, and the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development, received $41.4 million together from the Economic Development Administration’s Build Back Better grant. This award, which includes $16 million for projects led by the UO, will advance Oregon’s sustainable mass timber sector, facilitating equitable job growth, sustainable forestry, and affordable mass timber housing.
- Mass timber efforts spanning economic development, sustainable environmental stewardship, and innovations in affordable, resilient housing led by College of Design faculty will be further advanced through strategic planning efforts funded by the NSF Regional Innovation Engine program, which seeks to catalyze and foster innovation ecosystems across the US to advance critical technologies, address pressing societal challenges, cultivate cross-institution partnerships, and promote economic growth and job creation.
— Kate Petcosky-Kulkarni and Kelley Christensen, Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation