Federal stimulus has brought $151 million to CU for research

As of early April, system had received 279 grants
By Staff

From state fiscal stabilization funds, which enabled the university to backfill its budget amid state higher education cuts, to federal grants that will speed medical research to patient bedsides, the University of Colorado continues to benefit from federal stimulus funding.

On April 22, the CU Board of Regents received a roundup of the positive impacts of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) on the CU system.

The regents received a 10-page report that included an overview of various ARRA programs related to research grants, state fiscal stabilization funds, capital construction improvements and job creation, as well as reports on how CU's stimulus awards compared to peer institutions.

As of April 12, researchers around the CU system had received 279 ARRA grants worth $151 million. The university used $121 million in ARRA state fiscal stabilization funds to backfill its budget amid deep cuts to higher education funding by the state. According to a recent report, Colorado universities have been most reliant on federal stimulus funds during the ongoing economic downturn.

Once the funds expire in fiscal year 2011, CU and other Colorado colleges are expected to arrive at a "fiscal cliff," which could mean further job losses and budget reductions that could shape higher education for years to come, administrators have warned.

Teresa Osborne, director of capital assets, compiled ARRA data for the entire CU system, and assisted the Controller's Office with state and federal reporting requirements. The federal stimulus funding act asked recipients to comply with unprecedented reporting requirements. Osborne and other CU administrators worked to file reports with the federal government every three months.

"We had to keep track of 272 different research grants from large federal funding agencies, including the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, as well as state fiscal stabilization funding administered through the governor's office," Osborne said. "It was quite an undertaking."

Osborne collaborated with contracts and grants officials at the University of Colorado at Boulder, the University of Colorado Denver and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, and filed regular updates with the president's office and the campuses.

As part of efforts to keep the CU community informed of the university's ARRA research grant awards by campus, agency and other categories, Osborne worked with the CU central administration to establish an ARRA website.The site features profiles of some of the CU faculty researchers who received stimulus funding to support their research, as well as basic background information about ARRA.

"The website was an important part of our efforts to keep our faculty and staff informed on the ARRA process, and it was a way to hold ourselves accountable to our stakeholders and the general public," said Leonard Dinegar, senior vice president for administration and the president's chief of staff.

President Barack Obama signed ARRA into law in Denver on Feb. 17, 2009, providing up to $787 billion in new spending through Sept. 30, 2010.

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