In between making discoveries on everything from dark matter to stem cells, UCSB researchers smashed their external funding record by attracting $194 million in grants.

The donations – accumulated from corporations, foundations and federal and state agencies – mark an $18 million increase from the previous fiscal year. Over the last two years, the university can boast a 22 percent increase in external funding grants.

Chancellor Henry T. Yang said the record breaking numbers are quite remarkable given the nation’s current economic situation.

“It is particularly impressive that our faculty and researchers have succeeded in attracting grants and support at such a high level during these challenging budgetary times,” Yang said.

The innovative projects of UCSB researchers proved to be a major attraction for donors, Yang said.

“This significant growth in research funding is a testament to the excellence and originality of research and creative activity at UC Santa Barbara,” Yang said. “Our campus community greatly appreciates the impressive and increasing levels of financial support provided to us by external funding agencies, both public and private, as well as the enormous confidence that they have placed in UC Santa Barbara. The groundbreaking research and creative endeavors taking place on our campus are producing new knowledge across all the disciplines, with far-reaching impact on society and the world around us.”

While the university’s federal funding has seen an overall decrease, Vice Chancellor of Research Michael Witherell said investments increased considerably from non-federal sources. Endowments from these private non-profit foundations and technology companies are also record-breaking, accounting for $30 million in funding.

“Large foundations and technology companies are both making larger investments in research,” Witherell said. “They are coming to UCSB because of our outstanding researchers and our reputation for innovative research.”

Examples of such research investments include the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, which awarded psychology professor Michael Gazzaniga funding for the establishment of a $10 million national program based at the UCSB Neuroscience Research Institute.

Additionally, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation awarded $389,000 to Debra Lieberman, a lecturer in the Communication Dept. and a researcher in the Institute for Social, Behavioral and Economic Research. Lieberman will use the grant to create a national program office for the management of a new $8.25 million research program focusing on the impact interactive games have on health.

While last year may have seen a record-breaking intake of grants, Yang said UCSB has long valued and encouraged partnerships with corporations, foundations and government entities that support the university’s educational mission.

“Our strength has been based on a highly interdisciplinary and highly collaborative approach, working closely with our sponsors and partners,” Yang said. “Such approach integrates relevant disciplines in science, engineering, social sciences, education, environment, humanities and the arts, so that our areas of strength are unique and the best in the world.”