For the first time, UC Davis School of Medicine has ranked in the top 20 percent of institutions in the country for research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The ranking, posted online this month, is based on 2017 data collected and tabulated by the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research, a North Carolina nonprofit organization that uses the NIH’s Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools for its annual rankings.
“The proportion of NIH funding is an important measure of research excellence,” said Interim Dean Lars Berglund. “NIH grants are awarded on a highly competitive basis, and only institutions with fundamental core strengths across a wide spectrum of life sciences have been successful at maintaining their NIH funding base.”
Growth in NIH funding is important because research fuels discoveries that transform health, and the infusion of federal funds contributes to the overall economic health of the vast areas UC Davis serves, he said.
Since 2001, the school’s NIH research funding has catapulted from $41 million to $176.2 million in 2017.
Even more remarkable is the school’s incredible and largely unsurpassed funding trajectory over the last decade alone, which has skyrocketed 220 percent since 2007. UC Davis' growth has greatly outpaced other UC medical schools as well as many ranked institutions, whose funding has remained relatively flat for funding in the same time period.
Berglund said that the current ranking (26th in the nation) puts the School of Medicine in the “home stretch” for being among the top 25 U.S. institutions for NIH funding, a goal that was set more than a decade ago. It reflects the substantial time and financial investments that former leaders made in the school’s research enterprise and reflects the hard work of UC Davis scientific teams.
“I want to acknowledge the outstanding dedication and effort by all of our researchers,” he said. “Our achievements indicate the high caliber of faculty and staff we have at UC Davis. In the lab, in the clinic or in the community, they are behind some of the most important innovations of our time -- important discoveries that are paving the way to improve health and save lives.”
Berglund also recognized the benefits of the synergies between departments and centers across UC Davis and with many industry and community partners.
“Our tremendous growth also is attributed to a strong spirit of collaboration, which is the hallmark of research and education at UC Davis,” he said. “We have built this research community together.”