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Multiple images of researchers working in the field. The first image shows two student researchers, looking at a laptop by a stream in their high boots and weighters. The second image is a close up shot of a student researcher looking at creatures in glass containers. The third image shows two professors, wearing safety glasses, about to pour liquid nitrogen. The fourth image shows a researcher in the lab. The fifth image shows a group of researchers looking at foliage in plastic bags. The sixth image shows two researchers taking images for the library archive, one is standing on a stool while the other holds books open.

Research Funding Sources (FY 2019): All Funding Sources

Pie Chart showing Research Awards by Source for 2019. Federal Sponsors are 70.13%, Nonprofit Organization are 9.20%, Education and Research Institutions are 8.29%, Business and Industry are 7.00%, NC State Government are 3.83%, Associations are 1.27%, and Other are 0.28%.


Research Funding Sources (FY 2019): Federal Sources

Pie chart showing Federal Breakdown for 2018. National Institutes of Health are 72%, National Science Foundation are 7%, Department of Health and Human Services are 6%, Agency for International Development are 5%, Department of Education are 3%, Department of Defense are 3%, Department of Energy are 1%, Environmental Protection Agency are 1%, and all Others are 2%.

Prior years: FY 2017, FY 2016, FY 2015, FY 2014, FY 2013, FY 2012, FY 2011.

Research Funding, Fiscal Years 2004 to 2019

UNC at Chapel Hill's Research Awards from 2004 to 2019. In 2004, awarded 578 million dollars. In 2005, awarded 580 million dollars. In 2006, awarded 593 million dollars. In 2007, awarded 611 million dollars. In 2008, awarded 678 million dollars. In 2009, awarded 716 million dollars. In 2010, awarded 803 million dollars. In 2011, awarded 788 million dollars. In 2012, awarded 767 million dollars. In 2013, awarded 778 million dollars. In 2014, awarded 793 million dollars. In 2015, awarded 796 million dollars. In 2016, awarded 847 million dollars. In 2017, awarded 898 million dollars. In 2018, awarded 883 million dollars. In 2019, awarded 940 million dollars.

1998: $304,953,768 1999: $344,496,859 2000: $375,570,798
2001: $438,780,503 2002: $487,906,010 2003: $537,415,870
2004: $577,577,064 2005: $579,589,394 2006: $593,390,527
2007: $610,669,824 2008: $678,228,055 2009: $716,274,113 (includes
$4,501,984 in ARRA* funding)
2010: $803,358,125 (includes
$126,036,558 in ARRA* funding)
2011: $788,025,111 (includes
$55,554,596 in ARRA* funding)
2012: $767,141,341 (includes
$7,460,219 in ARRA* funding)
2013: $777,838,266 (includes
$5,006,018 in ARRA* funding)
2014: $792,729,006 (includes
$3,546,541 in ARRA* funding)
2015: $796,171,469
2016: $846,680,025 2017: $897,546,237 *American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
Trend in Federal Research Funding, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2008-2018

Graph showing the trend in federal research funding at UNC in Chapel Hill. 2019, the amount was $660,070,668.


Trends in Non-federal Research Funding, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2009-2019

For Educational and Research Institutions: $40,269,654 in 2007, $43,474,366 in 2008, $60,737,939 in 2009, $65,098,612 in 2010, $61,420,231 in 2011, $58,712,517 in 2012, $53,408,787 in 2013, $55,517,001 in 2014, $63,768,269 in 2015, $72,141,109 in 2016, and $72,505,785 in 2017. For Foundations: $46,957,135 in 2007, $54,835,606 in 2008, $55,952,816 in 2009, $42,803,768 in 2010, $49,428,447 in 2011, $56,761,915 in 2012, $62,825,784 in 2013, $46,818,604 in 2014, $53,006,272 in 2015, $67,286,005 in 2016, and $54,888,264 in 2017. For Business and Industry: $28,333,520 in 2007, $41,113,022 in 2008, $35,987,568 in 2009, $38,894,138 in 2010, $37,091,776 in 2011, $42,509,452 in 2012, $43,443,086 in 2013, $44,430,254 in 2014, $39,940,197 in 2015, $51,656,799 in 2016, and $62,167,572 in 2017. For Nonprofit Organization: $10,916,571 in 2007, $11,231,160 in 2008, $12,821,710 in 2009, $19,364,461 in 2010, $17,465,303 in 2011, $21,896,560 in 2012, $28,810,867 in 2013, $29,335,490 in 2014, $24,845,072 in 2015, $32,572,500 in 2016, and $26,536,753 in 2017. For NC State Government: $25,375,561 in 2007, $28,727,658 in 2008, $28,202,485 in 2009, $26,365,376 in 2010, $26,375,536 in 2011, $24,589,536 in 2012, $26,284,467 in 2013, $30,699,088 in 2014, $24,570,920 in 2015, $26,647,053 in 2016, and $31,906,039 in 2017. For Association: $11,260,732 in 2007, $17,117,855 in 2008, $16,141,330 in 2009, $13,591,910 in 2010, $12,168,665 in 2011, $10,376,113 in 2012, $9,873,445 in 2013, $11,236,288 in 2014, $10,024,966 in 2015, $11,743,235 in 2016, and $7,738,246 in 2017. For Local Governments: $1,968,925 in 2007, $2,493,644 in 2008, $3,105,821 in 2009, $3,093,996 in 2010, $4,092,528 in 2011, $2,884,874 in 2012, $2,017,779 in 2013, $652,783 in 2014, $1,194,885 in 2015, $451,386 in 2016, and $459,011 in 2017. For All Other Sponsors: $1,157,228 in 2007, $2,046,524 in 2008, $2,717,234 in 2009, $3,644,092 in 2010, $2,433,248 in 2011, $4,439,031 in 2012, $2,532,325 in 2013, $4,357,477 in 2014, $7,155,946 in 2015, $4,286,713 in 2016, and $4,094,048 in 2017.


Research Funding and the UNC-Chapel Hill Budget

Line graph showing research funding and the Carolina budget for research awards, state appropriations and aid, and tuition and fees. Research Awards in 2019 was $94.2 million, State Appropriations and Aid was $543.3 million, and Tuition and Fees was $270.6 million.

Collaborative Research Funding, 2018

Research is a team effort, with UNC faculty members collaborating across disciplines, departments, and schools, and partnering with scientists at other institutions in North Carolina and worldwide.
Four pie charts showing that Multi-Investigator research was 66%, multi-department was 53%, multi-school was 37%, and external partners were 25% in 2018.

How does UNC-Chapel Hill stack up with other universities and colleges in terms of research awards and expenditures?

Research and Development Expenditures at Universities and Colleges

Based on the most recent overview from the NSF, UNC-Chapel Hill ranked:

  • Fifth in federal R&D expenditures for the level of federal funding ($701 million) devoted to research and development in all fields during fiscal 2018. (Source: National Science Foundation. Updated: 4/2020.)
  • Twelfth in total R&D expenditures during fiscal year 2018 ($1.14 billion) (Source: NSF. Updated: 4/2020.)

Highlights in Overall Rankings in Federal Funding

Based on most recently available federal award data from the National Science Foundation, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ranks:

  • 15th in federal obligations for academic science and engineering R&D for FY 2018 ($476 million)
  • 5th nationally and first in the South in federally funded research and development expenditures at public and private universities and colleges in FY 2018 ($701 million)
  • 10th in federal obligations for science and engineering fellowships, traineeships and training grants in FY 2018 ($25 million)

(Source: NSF. Updated: 4/2020.)


National Institutes of Health Awards to Institutions of Higher Education

For FY 2018, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was ranked seventh among both private and public universities nationwide for DHHS and National Institutes of Health (NIH) research funding to domestic institutions of higher education. UNC-Chapel Hill faculty researchers receive more than $450 million in NIH research funding annually.

(Source: NSF. Updated: 4/2020.)


Federal Obligations for Science and Engineering Research and Development

Based on the most recently available data (FY 2018) from the National Science Foundation, UNC-Chapel Hill ranks:

  • Fourteenth in federal obligations for science and engineering ($517 million)
  • Fifteenth in federal obligations for science and engineering R&D ($476 million)
  • Tenth in federal obligations for fellowships, traineeships, and training grants ($25 million)

(Source: NSF. Updated: 5/2020.)

Facilities and administrative (F&A) funding is an essential part of operating and sustaining any large research university. Funding for a research grant typically takes two forms. One portion of a sponsor’s award (direct funding) is directed to the individual researcher on the project to fund the unique costs of that particular grant. The other portion (F&A funding) is directed to the university to cover the broader facilities and administrative (F&A) costs of supporting the grant. Universities use F&A funds to sustain the extensive and complex infrastructure required to conduct sophisticated research.

Information concerning the nature and use of F&A funds at UNC-Chapel Hill can be found on PDFs below: