MU had biggest jump in research awards among UM System campuses last year

Research within the University of Missouri System has improved and declined unevenly from campus to campus year-over-year based on numbers presented Thursday to the Board of Curators. System President Mun Choi, at a curators meeting in Columbia, discussed the priority the four campuses will place on research over the coming years. 

The system is placing a massive emphasis on research through its proposed $220 million Translational Precision Medicine Complex, plans of which university leaders unveiled Wednesday. Choi also noted that humanities research will play a role. System leaders will exhibit six programs, including the TPMC, at the 2019 Legislative Showcase at the Capitol on Feb. 21. 

The UM System’s $220 million Translational Precision Medicine Complex is slated to open in October 2021 in Columbia. | Rendering courtesy of Burns & McDonnell

Choi painted an up-and-down set of numbers Thursday with some campuses improving overall research and others experiencing declines year-over-year. 

MU’s research expenditures decreased slightly at 1 percent, and the Rolla campus declined by 7 percent. Kansas City and St. Louis produced significant raises, at 22.1 percent and 12.6 percent, respectively. 

MU and its sister campus in Rolla experienced growth in research proposals from July to December 2018 compared to July to December 2017, at 17.7 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively. The Kansas City campus had a 33 percent decrease year-over-year in research proposals, and St. Louis dropped 10 percent.

Choi said UMKC’s new chancellor has made research one of his top priorities. 

The proposals are written justifications that research teams submit to request funding from federal agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, Jeff Sossamon, from the MU Office of Research, said in a Thursday email. 

Research awards decreased no more than 16 percent for three campuses, but MU improved by 29.3 percent, from $114.2 million to $147.6 million. Choi and MU Chancellor Alexander Cartwright have repeatedly said they want MU to double its research awards and expenditures by 2023 and have the other three campuses increase expenditures by 50 percent in the same time frame. 

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