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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 2020): All Funding Sources

Pie Chart showing Research Awards by Source for 2019. Federal Sponsors are 69.46%, Education and Research Institutions are 8.33%, Foundations are 6.59%, Business and Industry are 6.38%, NC State Government are 4.21%, Nonprofit Organizations are 3.67%, and Other are 1.36%.


Research Funding Sources (FY 2020): 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 4%, Department of Defense are 3%, Department of Energy are 1%, Environmental Protection Agency are 1%, and all Others are 1%.

Prior years: FY 2019, FY 2018, FY 2017, FY 2016, FY 2015, FY 2014, FY 2013, FY 2012, FY 2011.

Research Funding, Fiscal Years 2005 to 2020UNC at Chapel Hill's Research Awards from 2005 to 2020. 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. In 2020, awarded 1.05 billion 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 2018: $882,967,375
2019: $941,171,570 2020: $1,048,786,880 *American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
Trend in Federal Research Funding, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2010-2020

Graph showing the trend in federal research funding at UNC in Chapel Hill. 2020, the amount was $726,777,399.


Trends in Non-federal Research Funding, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2010-2020

Trends in Non-federal Research Funding at UNC at Chapel Hill. In 2020, education and research institutions accounted for $87,131,304, foundation for $68,921,298, business and industry for $66,765,828, North Carolina State Government for $44,008,590, nonprofit organizations for $38,448,428, associations for $8,376,783, local government for $2,964,207, and other sponsors for $2,990,175.


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: