Funding for research projects from federal, state and private sources at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences hit a record $166 million in fiscal year 2017-2018.
Grant support underwrites programs that include feeding a hungry world, improving nutrition among at-risk populations and ensuring sufficient safe water for a growing global population.
As just a few examples of the bigger projects that received funding, UF/IFAS scientists received more than $15 million to fight citrus greening, although that total is spread amongst many research projects, according to the UF/IFAS Research office. Another $10.6 million is earmarked for an obesity prevention project and $8.54 million is going to fund a forage for livestock program in Africa.
“Research funding supports the engine of innovation, keeping our society ahead of problems like sea-level rise, food insecurity and invasive species before they become crises,” said Jackie Burns, dean for UF/IFAS Research and director of the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station.
The total of $166,246,487 is up 54 percent from the $107,455,703 received in 2016-2017, according to the UF/IFAS Research office.
“Supporters want to fund UF/IFAS scientists because the work they conduct is undeniably important and meaningful, and we make every dollar count,” Burns said. “Our researchers are also training students to become the new workforce and the next generation of scientific leaders, and that’s a solid investment.”
“This has been a record-setting year not only because of the total funding amount but also because of the diversity of awards at all dollar levels, the ever-increasing national leadership of our faculty, and the evident impact of our work,” Burns said.
The projects funded for UF/IFAS faculty range from a few months to multiple years.
Regardless of the size of the funding awarded to each project, all are critical to finding solutions to challenges such as citrus greening, disease-infected trees, mosquito-borne diseases, polluted water, sea-level rise, Everglades preservation and the rising cost of farming.
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