University of South Florida


USF research funding reaches record high of $692 million

USF research funding reaches record high of $692 million

By: Adam Freeman, University Communications and Marketing

Research funding awarded to the University of South Florida reached an all-time high of $692 million in fiscal year 2023, representing an increase of nearly 27% from the previous year and elevating USF’s stature as one of the nation’s most research-intensive universities.  The amount represents USF’s total research enterprise, including its direct support organizations and affiliates.

“The University of South Florida's record-breaking success in research funding is a reflection of our commitment to advancing new knowledge, fostering innovation and making a positive impact on society," USF President Rhea Law said. "The dedicated work of our world-class faculty, talented research staff and collaborative partners continues to lift USF’s research enterprise to new heights."

Several factors contributed to USF’s ascent:

  • USF’s funding from federal sources increased by 27%, more than tripling the national average.  According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), across the nation there was an 8.5% increase year over year for all federal research funding.  More than half of USF’s funding ($392 million) was allocated by federal agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation and U.S. Department of Defense.  
  • USF had 34 new principal investigators awarded external funding for research projects in fiscal year 2023 compared to the previous year.  
  • USF’s funding from private partnerships grew by 11% to $218 million, while funding from state and local sources nearly doubled to $82 million.  
  • USF research enterprise

  • Research funding sources

“This substantial increase in research enterprise funding reflects USF’s stature as a top public research university,” said Sylvia Wilson Thomas, USF vice president for research and innovation. “State and federal funding agencies are investing in the critical research conducted here at USF.”

Researchers in the Morsani College of Medicine received the highest investment – $416 million – and the College of Nursing experienced the greatest growth with a 61 percent increase in research funding. Much of that is attributed to Professor Christina McCrae, who’s working on several grants awarded by the NIH to study the impact of sleep on health.

Ashley Curtis and McCrae

College of Nursing Assistant Professor Ashley Curtis (left) and Professor Christina McCrae (right)

"Our studies are focused on understanding how chronic insomnia impacts the brain and overall health in a variety of patients." McCrae said. “The grant funding we have received will help my team and I better understand how improving insomnia can improve not only sleep, but also the symptoms and underlying causes of other disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, autism and chronic pain." 

USF engineers are leading a team of scientists studying harmful algae blooms, which can lead to discolored water, unpleasant odors and may negatively impact fish, birds and other wildlife.

Led by Mauricio Arias, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, researchers are focusing their work on Lake Okeechobee and the St. Lucie River and Caloosahatchee River watersheds.  Their project is supported by a multi-year grant from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, with a portion of the funding awarded in fiscal year 2023.

Mauricio at a polluted lake examining it

Assistant Professor Mauricio Arias analyzes a lake to identify harmful algae blooms

“Harmful algae blooms cause many negative environmental, health and economic effects throughout the state,” Arias said.  “This grant supports the development of new state-of-the-art water quality data and models to better predict and manage harmful algae blooms in this vitally important and environmentally sensitive ecosystem.”

The Florida High Tech Corridor also continues to be a strong collaborator, supporting a number of initiatives over the years, such as efforts to create new health treatments, technology that addresses critical infrastructure needs and undergraduate research.

Tina Meketa, University Communications and Marketing, contributed to this article.

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