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IU surpasses $1 billion in research and philanthropic funding

For Immediate Release Aug 13, 2020

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – For the first time in its history, Indiana University has achieved an annual total of more than $1 billion in external research awards and private philanthropy.

IU’s combined research and philanthropy funding for fiscal year 2020 totaled $1.15 billion, including a university-record $854 million in external funding for research and other activities. This is the highest total of external grant funding obtained by any research university in the state during the last fiscal year, and it represents a 25 percent increase over last year’s total of $680.2 million.

Awards to support IU health sciences research continue to have a major impact in enabling IU to join leading U.S. research universities at the forefront of the state and nation’s ongoing fight to eradicate the threat of COVID-19.

Researcher's hands and microscope
IU’s external funding for research and other activities in fiscal year 2020 consists of $418 million in federal grants and contracts.

The combined total also included $296.4 million in private individual and institutional philanthropy (i.e. contributions from individuals, businesses and foundations), the second-highest annual total in IU’s history.

IU President Michael A. McRobbie announced the annual total today at the IU Board of Trustees meeting. Further details were provided by Vice President for Research Fred Cate and IU Foundation President and CEO Dan Smith.

“This remarkable figure once again underscores the fact that Indiana University truly is the state’s research powerhouse,” McRobbie said. “It demonstrates the quality of the outstanding research being conducted by our faculty, staff and students – research that expands knowledge, drives innovation, creates new industries and jobs, spurs economic growth, and supports a high standard of living. It also reflects the longstanding generosity of tens of thousands of Indiana University’s alumni and friends, based on the university’s historic reputation for excellence in its first two centuries. Collectively, this funding directly and indirectly helps to support thousands of jobs in the state of Indiana.”

Sponsored research funding

IU’s external funding for research and other activities in fiscal year 2020 consists of $418 million in federal grants and contracts, including an IU record of $245.7 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health, the nation’s major federal government source of support for health sciences research. It also includes $48.7 million in awards from the National Science Foundation, $81 million in sponsored funding from industry, and $60.5 million in federal funding from the CARES Act to help the university and its students cope with the challenges of COVID-19.

IU’s total research funding also includes a record $344.3 million in non-governmental grants, representing a 65 percent increase over grants in this category last fiscal year. A one-time $145 million gift from IU Health, Indiana’s largest health care provider, to support a new medical treatment and research complex in Indianapolis, contributed to the dramatic leap in funding.

Much of IU’s record total is funding medical research at the IU School of Medicine, IU’s largest grant recipient, which brought in a total of more than $549 million, up from nearly $434 million in fiscal year 2019.

Additionally, IU faculty and staff set new university highs for the number of research proposals submitted (4,339) and number of successful proposals that were awarded funding (2,976) in fiscal year 2020.

“External funding for research reflects the skill and dedication of our faculty, staff and student researchers, which were especially evident this year given how much of their exceptional work was done in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Cate said. “The significant involvement of IU researchers in fighting the pandemic and in helping our state deal with its repercussions has demonstrated forcefully the value of university research and the importance of public and private support for it.”

IU continues to highlight the value and impact of university research on its new Research Impact website, which includes a special area focused on IU experts’ contributions in the fight against COVID-19.

Private philanthropy

IU’s total private and institutional philanthropy of $296.4 million represents an increase of more than 24 percent in philanthropic support over the previous year, and it reflects the support of more than 97,600 IU alumni and friends.

The fiscal year totals included a landmark $60 million gift from IU alumnus Fred Luddy – the second-largest private gift in IU’s history – to establish a multidisciplinary initiative in artificial intelligence at IU based in the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering.

The vast majority of donors specify how their gifts must be used. In fiscal year 2020, donors chose to fund a wide array of initiatives within the scope of academic programs, student scholarships and financial aid, faculty support and research, and facilities.

Their gifts are advancing the goals of For All: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign, which are to enable student success and support, create the next generation of global leaders, discover life-changing ideas and innovations, and create a heathier state, nation and world. The campaign will conclude Sept. 30.

“The extraordinary support of IU alumni and friends speaks volumes about the important work taking place across Indiana University’s campuses,” Dan Smith said. “Our donors, who continue to provide the margin of excellence at IU, clearly see the enormous impact their generosity has on our students, on the communities across our state served by our campuses, and across our society. We are extremely grateful for their selfless support and the trust they have placed in us to advance the university’s mission of world-class education and research and full engagement in the life of our state.”

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