November 1, 2003

UNT Health Science Center now boasts a record nearly $17 million in annual research funding, up from $14 million last year.

The health science center also has a high ratio of turning its state appropriated research dollars into federal funding. Last year, for every $1 in state research dollars, the institution brought in $15.08 in federal funding, according to a report by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. This compares with a federal to state funding ratio of only $4.23 for the other health-related institutions in the state.

The growth comes from increased research in every school, said Robert Gracy, PhD, associate vice president of research and biotechnology.

The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences continues to conduct a majority of the research on campus and generate much of the funding for research efforts, he said.

The Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine is reporting increases in the amount of its research funding as well, mostly attributable to its clinical trials contracts with pharmaceutical companies, Dr. Gracy said.The School of Public Health also made a substantial increase in its research funding with several projects funded in the past two years, he said.

Much of the institutionâ??s research growth comes from increased funding available from the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Gracy said. Approximately 60 percent of the health science centerâ??s research funding comes from the NIH.

A growing percentage of the total research funding comes from sponsored research agreements with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, Dr. Gracy said.

â??Itâ??s important to understand that the institution earns money in different ways from sponsored research,â? he said.The most direct way is from the sponsored research agreement itself. â??The SRA provides immediate revenue to the institution by paying for salaries, equipment and supplies.â? The sponsor may also provide funding for patent expenses and legal fees.

Another source of income from sponsored research may come from equity in the company itself. â??A company may offer us shares so that we are truly partners sharing, both the potential profits and any financial risks involved,â? Dr. Gracy said.

The institution may also license technology for a percentage of the companyâ??s profits. â??This royalty income comes far in the future, especially with biotechnology research since they have to go through the long and expensive process of clinical trials and FDA approval,â? Dr. Gracy said.

Some corporate research sponsors want only additional professionals to work on specific projects, he said. â??In those scenarios, they consider us â??work-for-hire,â?? and the institution usually does not have any rights to the intellectual property of the research.â?

Dr. Gracy said he sees a bright future ahead for research at the health science center. â??Over the next several years, our research funding is sure to continue to increase. Our grant submissions are up, and feedback on the quality of our work is outstanding.â?


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