UIC Reports New Research Funding Record

University of Illinois at Chicago
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By Selene Angier
Last updated on August 10, 2023

University of Illinois Chicago recently announced record-breaking sponsored funding of $410 million in 2020. If you are an international student hoping to participate in research projects at a US university, check out the opportunities UIC can offer.

University of Illinois at Chicago

A UIC female international student wearing a hijab and glasses stands in front of a wall of windows overlooking the Chicago skyline and points upward

Big news from Chicago: University of Illinois Chicago’s recent announcement of its record-breaking research funding of $410 million in 2020 positions the top-ranking school as a research hub for international students, especially STEM majors. 

But first, a little background: When we talk to students about where to apply to university, we ask them which factors are most important to them in deciding where to study in the USA. Rankings, faculty reputation, location, and career outcomes are usually their first responses.

For most STEM students, research opportunities sit at the top of the list, too. And it makes sense — the ability to work on research projects as an undergraduate or graduate student means hands-on, resume-building experience, mentoring relationships with professors, networking opportunities with fellow students and staff, and the personal and professional satisfaction of contributing to the greater good. 

With UIC’s newest funding, the university offers international students the chance to work side-by-side with experts on cutting-edge breakthroughs, all while earning a respected degree that leads to professional opportunities. 

UIC Sets New Research Funding Record

The funding milestone is a new school record for UIC, marking the first time the university has surpassed the $400 million mark. This represents a 7% increase over fiscal year 2019 and a 22% increase over fiscal year 2018. 

The sponsored funding pool translates to 9,400 faculty, students, and staff working on 1,800 different research projects. In 2017, UIC contributed $7.6 billion to the Illinois economy, and with $50 million in patent revenue, UIC is projected to be in the top 10 universities for research-related royalties in 2020. 

Current UIC Research Projects

Want to work on clinical trials for a COVID-19 vaccine? Study healthy drinking water in Bangladesh? Explore the impacts of pollinators at solar facilities? UIC is the place to do it. 

COVID-related mental health issues, treatments for the Ebola virus, and the role of CRISPR in sickle cell anemia are a few more of the recent research studies granted to UIC.

Additional UIC research awards include:

  • Mentoring Latinx students as they successfully earn degrees in STEM fields ($1.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education)

  • Developing and providing assistive technologies to people with disabilities ($1.25 million award from the State of Illinois Department of Human Services)

  • Encouraging more women to pursue computing careers through curriculum, career, and community-building activities ($1.1 million award from Pivotal Ventures and Cognizant U.S. Foundation)

  • Studying glucose metabolism in type 1 diabetes patients during phases of the menstrual cycle ($2 million award from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation)

  • Constructing a beamline to expand chemistry and materials research capability through a partnership with the Argonne National Laboratory ($14 million from the National Science Foundation)

Who Funds the Research?

The US federal government accounts for nearly 75% of UIC’s sponsored research; the remaining 25% comes from the Illinois state government, foundations, and private corporations. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) was the largest sponsor of UIC research projects in FY20 ($169 million+ in funding).

A few other agencies and sponsors include:

  • National Science Foundation

  • U.S. Department of Defense

  • U.S. Department of Education

  • U.S. Department of Energy

COVID-related Projects

Has the pandemic inspired you to consider a career in the health sciences? Good news — UIC is a major player, especially with research about coronavirus. In FY20 and FY21, UIC received more than $32 million in COVID-related funding, including:

I see my future in health care being one of reimagining and reshaping systems that don’t work for everyone.” — Wasan, neuroscience major and student researcher, ’21

Strong Research Findings Mean More Research Funding

When a university applies for and secures more research projects, it contributes to the greater understanding of the world’s issues and a path to solutions, innovations, inventions, and discoveries. As a strong research contributor, a university is more likely to be considered for future research funding. It’s basically the ripple effect: More research findings means more research funding. 

Research Fields and Areas of Study

As a student researcher at UIC, you have the opportunity to work on studies across a range of fields and majors including STEM and health sciences, technology, engineering, social sciences, humanities, and the arts. UIC’s expanded research portfolio covers a range of fields and areas of study, including:

  • Engineering: mechanical, chemical, electrical, software, and bio engineering, artificial intelligence (AI), and more

  • Education: urban education, policy studies, human development, literacy, early childhood education, and more

  • Applied Health Sciences: biomedical design, cardiovascular health, health disparities, nutrition, obesity, diabetes, and more

  • Business Administration: accounting, finance, applied analytics, information and decision sciences, management, marketing, entrepreneurship, and more

  • Urban Planning and Public Affairs: transportation, racial and ethnic injustice, economic development, public policy, housing, and more

In FY18, UIC received funding for 1,719 research studies. The departments with the most sponsored funding were granted to:

  • College of Medicine: 708 studies worth $125,671,011

  • College of Engineering: 180 studies worth $31,273,362

  • School of Public Health: 162 studies worth $48,178,235

  • Liberal Arts and Sciences: 156 studies worth $24,766,486

  • Pharmacy: 102 studies worth $14,959,181

Award-Winning Faculty 

When you enroll at UIC, you have the opportunity to learn from and be mentored by some of the country’s leading professors and researchers. More than 600 of UIC’s professors have received achievement awards, fellowships, and honors from prestigious national academies and professional societies such as the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Engineering, National Science Foundation, and American Association for the Advancement of Science. 

A few examples of top UIC researchers include:

  • Daniel Bernstein, research professor in the department of computer science, known for developing qmail and cybersecurity protocols.

  • Anna Roosevelt, professor of anthropology, recognized for her archaeological research studies on the ancient and historic cultures of Amazonia and Central Africa.

  • Xiaofeng Zhou, assistant professor of the Center for Molecular Biology of Oral Diseases, known for his contributions to oral cancer research.

  • S. Jay Olshansky, professor of epidemiology with the School of Public Health, known for research on aging and human longevity.

  • Teresa Córdova, professor of urban planning and policy, known for directing the Great Cities Institute for economic and urban development in Chicago.

  • Joan Briller, professor of medicine, recognized for research on obstetrics, maternal cardiovascular health, and community outreach.

  • Bellur Prabhakar, professor of microbiology and immunology, lauded for his work on vaccines and therapeutic monoclonal antibodies.

My teachers went out of their way to help and foster me, and I try to do the same for my students.” — Dr. Anna Roosevelt, professor of anthropology

Why Choose UIC?

The University of Illinois Chicago is a diverse, high-ranking institution in one of America’s most exciting cities. The campus is located in downtown Chicago and provides access to Fortune 500 employers, top-rated restaurants, and world-class museums. 

UIC is known for strong program rankings across in-demand global sectors. A few highlights:

  • Top 100 Engineering, Business, and Computer Science programs in the US (U.S. News & World Report, 2021)

  • Top 30 Ethnically Diverse and Top 30 Economically Diverse universities (U.S. News & World Report, 2021)

  • #19 Public Health (U.S. News & World Report, 2021)

  • #7 Pharmacy (U.S. News & World Report, 2021)

  • #3 Occupational Therapy (U.S. News & World Report, 2021)

  • Top 10 Best Value Universities in the US (Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education, 2021)

UIC is such a diverse university, and it helped me make a lot of new friends from different cultures. Professors and staff working around campus are so friendly and are available for you anytime you need help.” — Phoo, Myanmar, biochemistry

Rankings are important, but even more valuable is how research funding can lead to positive outcomes for you as an international student. Research projects provide you with hands-on learning opportunities and real-world experience that helps build your resume and impress future hiring managers. 

UIC’s commitment to pursuing sponsored funding also means:

“The growth of our research portfolio reflects our collective commitment across the university to the creation and application of new knowledge,” said UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis in a press release about the record-breaking research announcement. “It further demonstrates our researchers’ dedication and determination to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges and places UIC among the top research universities in the world.” 

Dedication and determination in conquering challenges — does that sound like you?

Learn how you can study at the University of Illinois Chicago >