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UCI Tops Its Record in Grants and Contract Funds : Education: Money from those sources passed $100-million mark for the third year in a row, but private gifts slipped 17% compared to previous year.


IRVINE — Private gifts to UC Irvine declined in the past year, but money from research grants and contracts broke the university's record, campus officials said Monday.

Contracts and grants passed the $100-million mark for the third year in a row, UCI spokeswoman Karen Newell Young said. Research grants have increased at the university since the 1986-87 fiscal year.

"People are pretty positive about these numbers," Young said. "They've shown a steady improvement."

Grants from federal, state, local and private sources in fiscal year 1993-94 totaled $107,204,452--a 3% increase from the previous year, Young said. They paid for research into a variety of disciplines, from searching for the roots of Alzheimer's disease to providing better child care for infants and toddlers.

Dr. Michael E. Selsted is UCI's research cleanup hitter, university statistics show: He got more than $10.7 million in grants during the 1993-94 fiscal year. The next highest ranking scientist, physics Professor Henry Sobel, attracted $2.8 million in grants.

Selsted studies innate immunity and is examining the ability of human beings to fend off microorganisms with small antibiotic-like molecules made in white blood cells.

The College of Medicine was the largest money-getter, Young said, drawing $49.8 million--more than 46% of the total contracts and grants.

UCI's future success depends on increasing research in engineering and biological, physical and social sciences, among other areas, Chancellor Laurel L. Wilkening said. In a recent statement, Wilkening called for UCI to penetrate the tier of the top 50 research universities in the country by 2000.

Most of UCI's contracts came from federal agencies, which contributed $74.3 million, or about 69% of the total. State contracts and grants dropped 78% over the previous year, to a total of about $2 million, Young said.

But at the same time research grants grew, private donors contributed less to UCI.

The amount of private gifts in 1993-94 decreased by 17% compared to the previous year--mostly because there were few large donations, officials said.

James Asp, acting vice chancellor of university advancement, said UCI received one donation over $1 million in 1993-94, compared to six donations in the $1-million to $5-million range in 1992-93.

Asp said he was not surprised about the drop, and added that the number of people and organizations that donated money grew by about 4%.

"I'm optimistic," Asp said. "With the new sense of direction from the chancellor and the economy coming back, I'm hopeful we'll have a good year."

This year, fund-raisers will focus on health sciences and other disciplines that are UCI's strengths, he said. Officials will try to solicit money from foundations and people who are prominent in those fields.


For example, a recent dinner raised money for the university's cancer programs, Asp said.

Despite the downturn in private giving, UCI will continue its efforts in that area, Asp said. "Private support is going to be increasingly important as the state's support for UC shrinks," he said.

UCI Funding

Private monetary gifts to UC Irvine hit a six-year low during the past year, but contracts and grants from private, local, state and federal sources set a university record. Dollar amounts in millions per fiscal year:

Private gifts: '93-'94: $20.6

Contracts and grants: '93-'94: $107.2 Source: UCI; Researched by ALICIA DI RADO / Los Angeles Times

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