Research funding for UCSB from external foundations and state and federal organizations has set a new record, totaling $176 million last year.
Projects benefiting from the record funding of campus research projects include a center for the study of law and biopsychology, the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics and a project that aims to transcribe 16th- and 17th-century news and tabloids – written in verse – onto the Internet.
From June 2006 to July 2007, professors and researchers were awarded fellowships to further their studies across various disciplines. Last year witnessed a $17 million – 11 percent – increase from the prior year, which was distributed in fields from the sciences and engineering to the humanities and social education.
Since 1987, UCSB’s external research funding has quadrupled in the science and engineering divisions. Last year, $121.3 million was gifted by federal agencies, including the National Science Foundation, the Dept. of Defense and National Institutes of Health.
The university’s largest benefactor, the NSF, continued their endowment of two on-campus institutions – the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis and the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics. Each center will receive $4 million each year over the course of 5 years.
However, not all financial support goes directly to the sciences. Professors and researchers in the humanities and social sciences departments were also awarded approximately $840,000.
The English Dept. recently received a $325,000 National Endowment for the Humanities Grant, which enables researchers to create an English Broadside Ballad Archive and publish it on the Internet. Rhyming verses of 16th- and 17th-century news events and tabloids, which students in the field will transcribe from their original format.
English Dept. Chair and professor William B. Warner said the online project will unify different departments and students on campus through the lyrical and historical elements involved in the development.
“We are also thrilled that the project allows us to work closely with students in art history and especially in music,” Warner said. “There is a companion team of undergrads and grads.”
A $520,000 award from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation was granted to communication associate professors Andrew Flanagin and Miriam Metzger in June.
Their research involves people’s use and understanding of today’s digital technology and the Internet’s reliability of source information.
The NSF granted $564,000 for a study on keeping undergraduate women in the science fields, which examines social interactions among undergraduate physics, biology and chemistry majors.
Vice Chancellor of Research Michael Witherell said that the 2007-08 fiscal year has already witnessed a $10 million start, made possible by the MacArthur Foundation to gather legal scholars, philosophers and scientists to incorporate biopsychological investigations into today’s judicial system.
“This is a mega-grant of $10 million for a national program on neuroscience and the law,” Witherell said. “The grant will be extended over the course of three years.”
UCSB is one of 24 leading universities across the country to be involved in this project, led by former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
In addition to the federal and state grants, the UC system also donated $11.2 million.