Dr. Jennifer Etnier and a grad student looking at MRI results.

Research funding surges over $48 million

UNC Greensboro faculty, staff, and students were awarded $48.3 million in external grant funding this fiscal year, exceeding the previous year’s research funding total by $6.0 million. The 14% increase in funding occurred across a wide range of disciplines, reflecting the University’s broad strengths as a community-engaged, public research institution. Over the last five years, UNCG research funding has increased by 57%.

“A milestone of this magnitude is a testament to the exceptional work of our faculty, staff, and students,” said Chancellor Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr. “These awards are funding critical research for our state, opening doors to scientific breakthroughs, and serve as a reminder that UNCG is one of the region’s most comprehensive R2 research universities, and the #1 public research university in NC for diversity. The teacher-scholar model is thriving here, and it’s gratifying to see our commitment to opportunity and excellence become reality.”

UNCG is a federally designated Minority Serving Institution with Carnegie Foundation designations for both higher research activity and community engagement. Only 18 doctorate-granting institutions in the U.S. boast this constellation of credentials, which speak to the University’s commitment to conducting rigorous scholarship while partnering with communities to create meaningful change and providing high-impact educational opportunities to traditionally underserved populations.

“This year’s awards demonstrate our commitment to the generation and application of research to some of the most challenging issues facing communities and the nation,” said Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement Terri L. Shelton. Several of the largest funded projects were in support of our education system, such as national work to improve access to education among homeless youth, a multi-state effort to increase college and career readiness, and a partnership to find, train, and keep effective principals in rural school districts in our region.

Major funding also went to health research, including bench science projects related to liver and artery disease, health interventions related to Alzheimer’s disease, drug discovery efforts, and programs to diversify our integrated behavioral health and primary care workforces and address health disparities. Other awards reflect the University’s deep collaborations with municipalities, including work to design, implement, and evaluate strategies to address the eviction and opioid crises. Meanwhile, funding for humanities projects supported scholarship on the history of a Jewish uprising in the Ukraine during the Holocaust and the Afro-Brazilian martial art capoeira.

This year, UNCG received a W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Engagement Scholarship Award from Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. As the Southern region winner of this award, the University is currently in contention for the national award as well.

“The prestigious awards and recognitions our teacher-scholar and students received this year are another wonderful reflection of UNCG’s excellence,” said Shelton. Other recognitions include the election of Dr. Edna Tan in the School of Education as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, bioinformatics researcher Dr. Prashanti Manda’s receipt of a prestigious NSF CAREER grant, dance scholar Dr. Ana Paula Höfling’s appointment as a 2021-22 National Humanities Center Fellow, and undergraduate Kala Youngblood’s selection for the Goldwater Scholarship Program.

Over half of this fiscal year’s research funding came from federal agencies, followed by state contracts (19.8%), subawards from other educational and research institutions (11.9%), nonprofits (6.7%), public and private foundations (3.2%), local government (2.1%), and business and industry (1.2%).

For more information about UNCG research, visit researchmagazine.uncg.edu.


Photography by Martin Kane, University Communications