• Report
  • Aug 05 2020

UK Research Annual Report Fiscal Year 2019

2019 Research Annual Report cover

In many ways, 2019 was a record-breaking year for research at the University of Kentucky (UK). UK faculty received $417.1 million in competitive research awards in FY 2019, an increase of $83 million over the previous year. This astounding 25% increase in FY 2019 took the university to an unprecedented 12% compound annual growth rate over the last three years for grants and contracts to UK.

Highly competitive federal grants and contracts increased by 16% from the previous year and represent large increases from federal funding agencies such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH, 32% increase) and the National Science Foundation (NSF, 47% increase).  

This growth included the largest grant UK has ever received: the HEALing Communities award from the NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which provided $20 million in funding in 2019. 

NIH funding to scientists and clinicians at the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging increased from $13.3 million to $23.4 million in one year, representing a remarkable 75% increase in funding for Alzheimer’s-related research. See the research highlights in this report for more examples of high-impact projects at UK.

In total, UK successfully competed for 1,670 grants and contracts, submitted by 800 researchers to almost 600 funding agencies.  

We know that the research our faculty, staff and students participate in can make a difference throughout the Commonwealth. Not only is their research making new discoveries, solving our state’s most burdensome problems, and creating innovation — UK research is contributing to Kentucky’s economy. 

Research expenditures in FY 2018, as reported to the NSF HERD Survey, totaled more than $393 million. These R&D expenditures directly impacted the creation of 1,866 new jobs in Kentucky and helped support more than 4,400 jobs throughout the state. These scientific jobs created more than $237 million in labor income. The total economic impact of UK research for Kentucky was $725.5 million. 

The sheer volume of research activity, and the success of our researchers to garner funding for their impactful studies, speaks to the significance of the research mission. We are changing the culture of research at UK and empowering our faculty, staff and students to effectively compete for funding for their best and brightest ideas to help the citizens of Kentucky and the world.