Although Gov. Gray Davis’ recently proposed budget would cut UC research funding, the UCSB Research Department is confident that grant money for professors will not be affected.
The proposed budget, which was announced last Thursday, increased state funding to the UC by approximately $6 billion, but cut state money for research by $4.9 million.
During the last fiscal year, July 1, 2000 through June 30, 2001, UCSB professors and research projects received $124.3 million in grants. The figure is 10 percent greater than the previous year and is expected to grow in the coming year.
“We have no reason to expect that we’re going to bring in less than last year,” Associate Director for Sponsored Projects David Mayo said.
Individual companies who support professors’ research projects dole out standard awards, which constitute 80 percent to 90 percent of the grants the Research Department receives. Professors first look for agencies or companies which fund the type of research they are conducting and submit a proposal, which is then reviewed and approved or rejected by the company.
Individual staff members in the research office monitor the grants, and if any problems arise, there are regulatory committees that have been established by the research office as well.
“There are an enormous amount of rules to make sure that research is done with a lot of oversight and integrity,” Vice Chancellor for Research France Cordova said, “and we have to make sure these various committees exercise that.”
Grants from the UC constituted 8 percent of the total grants received by UCSB professors last year, totaling approximately $9.9 million of the $124.3 million. Cordova said UC funding for discretionary research would be impacted at the level of 5 percent to 10 percent of overall grants. Industry funding, which comprised 14 percent of last year’s grants, could also suffer because of the current economic recession.
“Overall, we’re looking at 20 percent of the whole research portfolio, which will be subject to an economy that’s rapidly changing,” she said.
Mayo said grants would not be too greatly affected by the proposed budget cuts, although professors might have to look around a little bit longer before getting approved.
“I don’t think professors will be any more inhibited to submit proposals to companies [because of the recession],” Mayo said. “They will need to write more because not as many are funded.”
Mike Goodchild, the chair of the Executive Committee for the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis, hopes his work is not affected by the sloping trend in the economy.
Goodchild’s research project began 10 years ago and is expected to continue for the next three years. The California Department of Transportation sponsors his grants.
“We’re told that although Caltrans is going to be hit with a significant budget cut, their research programs are not likely to be impacted very much,” he said.
Cordova said the private sector for research is going up and is not concerned about statewide budget cuts.
“We receive so little state funding,” she said, “I think the impact is yet to reach us.”