UC Berkeley passes $1B benchmark in project funding in 1 year

photo of UC Berkeley's East Asian Library and the lawn
Ryan Kendrick /Staff
UC Berkeley surpassed the $1-billion benchmark in terms of funding for research and other sponsored projects this fiscal year.

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UC Berkeley has received more than $1 billion in funding for research and other sponsored projects in the past fiscal year.

The funding sources vary between numerous federal and private agencies and foundations, such as NASA, the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense, according to a Berkeley News press release.

“Such increased funding allows our faculty to continue to attract the best and the brightest students and postdocs to come to Berkeley to develop their skills in advanced research,” said Randy Katz, former campus vice chancellor for research, in an email. “Access to the best facilities gives them the best opportunity to establish and advance their own careers, under the mentorship of Berkeley’s faculty.”

About half of the funding that campus research has acquired in the past decade comes from the federal government, the press release added.

In fact, federal funds distributed to college campuses across the country in response to the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic enabled UC Berkeley to cross the $1-billion threshold this year.

“Our faculty, postdocs and students have been very busy during the pandemic, developing their research ideas, collecting initial data, writing proposals and winning the competition for funding with the quality of their ideas,” Katz said in an email.

One award from the Simons Foundation that campus received this past fiscal year helped create the Foundations of Data Science Institute, according to the press release.

Yuri Tschinkel, director of the mathematics and physical sciences division at the Simons Foundation, noted that its awarding process is “competitive.”

“The quality of the team and the commitment of UC Berkeley were the main deciding factors,” Tschinkel said in an email.

The rest of the funding for the Foundations of Data Science Institute came from the National Science Foundation, or NSF.

The NSF also provided campus research with further funding through several grants. One $20 million grant from the NSF supports the division of chemistry’s Center for Genetically Encoded Materials, or C-GEM.

“C-GEM is establishing a future of bespoke polymers to address health, environmental, and industrial challenges, fostering innovation, and training a diverse workforce at multiple chemistry-biology-materials frontiers,” the NSF website reads.

A second grant, about $25 million, is funding the Quantum Leap Challenge Institute for Present and Future Quantum Computation, an initiative to create a quantum computer that could revolutionize human life, the NSF website noted.

Since the fiscal year began July 1, campus has already amassed more than $180 million in funding, according to the press release.

Although Katz noted “very few universities” are able to achieve the $1-billion milestone, he is confident that campus funding will continue to grow in the future.

Contact Zachary Khouri at [email protected], and follow him on Twitter at @zachakhouri.