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Quarterly Research Report Q2 FY20: July 1 – December 31, 2019

In the second quarter of fiscal year 2020 (Q2 FY20), proposal dollars requested and total funds expended on research and development by UT researchers remained stable while the awarded dollars exceeded expectations.

The total award amount of $111 million received in Q1-Q2 of FY20 indicated a 37% increase over the first two quarters of FY19. More importantly, this amount represents 80% of the total award amount received during all four quarters of previous FY19 ($140M). The significant increase in the award amount was recorded for several UT colleges and units:

  • UT Space Institute by 314%
  • College of Social Work by 71%
  • Tickle College of Engineering by 49%
  • College of Communication and Information by 48%
  • College of Arts & Sciences by 23%
  • College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences by 14%
  • Haslam College of Business by 7%
  • College of Nursing by 2%

The total number of proposals submitted in the first two quarters of FY20 (n=793) was down 8%, while the total requested amount of $257 million represented an 8% increase when compared to the first two quarters of fiscal year 2019. This indicates that UT researchers submitted more large proposals (over 1 $M) in the current fiscal year (n=50 requesting $112M) than in the previous FY19 (n=43 requesting $100M).

Further analysis indicates that the increase in the award amount in the first two quarters of FY20 versus Q1-Q2 FY19 came from both newly funded ($52M or 46% of the total awarded amount) and ongoing ($60M or 54%) projects funded in previous years. In terms of specific funding sources, the increases were recorded for all sources of award obligations except Foreign sponsors. Significant increases were recorded for Tennessee Government (114% increase), Private Profit (45% Increase) and Federal Agencies (30% increase).

The increase in the award amount received from Federal Agencies came from increases in funding received from most of the major federal sponsors such as Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, Department of Health, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Some notable awards in Q2 FY20 include:

Karen Lloyd, associate professor of microbiology, received a $2.5 million grant from the Department of Energy to conduct research on the effects of thawing permafrost on the environment.

Rachel Patton McCord, assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology, was awarded a $1.84 million Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) from the National Institute for General Medical Science (NIGMS) to investigate how the 3D folded structure of the human genome reacts to physical stress in health and disease.