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OU Shatters Record for Sponsored Research

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July 8, 2020

OU Shatters Record for Sponsored Research

NORMAN, OKLA. – The University of Oklahoma announced a record-high $255.6 million in research awards earned through grants and external funding by OU researchers on the Norman campus. The fiscal year 2020 total surpasses the previous benchmark of $218 million for the 2019 fiscal year.

“Achieving a record-setting year for research is a testament to the remarkable enthusiasm and talent of our Norman campus research enterprise,” said OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. “These extraordinary accomplishments, spearheaded by OU Vice President for Research and Partnerships Tomás Díaz de la Rubia, reflect the growing confidence of our external partners in the university’s ability to translate our research efforts into real-world impacts.”

The largest contribution to the record total is due to continuing investment by NASA in the Geostationary Carbon Cycle Observatory, a project led by OU Dean of the College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences Berrien Moore. Set to launch in 2023, the GeoCarb satellite observatory will study how and why the global carbon cycle is changing and also will monitor plant health and vegetation stress throughout the Americas. The project is funded through June 30, 2026.

Many other successful new and ongoing programs supported by state and federal agencies contributed to this growth. OU’s weather and radar programs competitively supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration continued to grow, as did OU’s emerging research programs in support of the Department of Defense led by OU associate vice president Robert Palmer and his team at the Advanced Radar Research Center.

A recent $20 million National Science Foundation grant, administered by the Oklahoma Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, will support interdisciplinary research to benefit Oklahoma. During the five-year award, a team of 34 researchers from across the state will develop and test science-based solutions for complex problems at the intersection of land use, water availability and infrastructure. Carol Silva and Hank Jenkins-Smith, co-directors of OU’s National Institute for Risk and Resilience, are the science leads for the project.

“The continued growth of sponsored research at OU is testament to the creativity, innovation and hard work of our faculty and to the quality of the research being explored,” said Díaz de la Rubia. “We’re looking forward to continued success and growth in FY21 as we continue to align the university’s strategic plan and our research priorities and investments with those of Oklahoma and the nation.”

In addition to a record-breaking year for research awards, OU researchers also submitted 981 proposals to the tune of $635.3 million in sponsored research dollars sought in fiscal year 2020, another all-time high.