UT System commits to boosting investment in groundbreaking research

Governors University Research Initiative Signing
Governors University Research Initiative Signing
AUSTIN – Chancellor William H. McRaven joined Gov. Greg Abbott and chancellors from around the state today at the University of Texas at Austin to celebrate the signing of new legislation that will create the Governor’s University Research Initiative – a mission to attract world-class researchers, including Nobel laureates, to Texas public universities. The Texas Legislature has approved $40 million in funding for the initiative.

The University of Texas System has long been committed to attracting elite faculty to Texas and investing in groundbreaking research, McRaven said, and the governor’s plan to bolster the power of Texas universities is a watershed moment for higher education in the state.

“Funding the type of research that occurs at our academic and health institutions and bringing the world’s greatest minds to undertake that research is what will make Texas the world’s epicenter of change, innovation and discovery,” McRaven said. “We will end disease. We will discover new frontiers. We will create a better tomorrow. We need only to make the right investment in our future. Gov. Abbott and the Texas Legislature are making that investment today.”

Strengthening research and attracting exemplary faculty have long been the focus for the UT System. Over the past decade, the UT System has invested more than $300 million in programs to attract and retain star faculty and researchers and to fund system-wide research initiatives. UT System’s Science and Technology Acquisition and Retention, or STARS, program is perhaps the most significant example. Created a decade ago, the program has lured world-class faculty from around the nation from institutions such as Stanford, Harvard, Princeton and MIT.

Other legislation signed by Abbott reorganizes university research funds into three distinct funds: the Texas Research University Fund, which supports research at Texas’ top-tier research universities, UT Austin and Texas A&M University; the Core Research Support Fund, supporting research at Texas’ emerging research institutions, including four in the UT System; and the Comprehensive Research Fund, to increase research capacity for all other general academic teaching institutions.

The Texas Legislature appropriated $147.1 million to support the Texas Research University Fund, $117.1 million for the Core Research Support Fund and $14.3 million for the Comprehensive Research Fund.

In another significant investment in research, the Legislature appropriated $138.1 million for the Texas Research Incentive Program (TRIP), which was established in 2009 and incentivizes matching private gifts supporting research at emerging research institutions, including UT Arlington, UT Dallas, UT El Paso and UT San Antonio. To supplement this program, the UT Board of Regents created the UT System Research Incentive Program (UTRIP) as an additional means to augment philanthropic gifts directed toward research at UT institutions. Gifts matched under the UTRIP program range from $500,000 to $5 million or greater, with a matching cap of 50 percent, or $2.5 million. Since its inception, almost $130 million in private gifts have been submitted, and Regents have invested a total of $40 million in the program.

The UT Board of Regents also has funded several system-wide research initiatives recently, including the UT System Neuroscience and Neurotechnology Institute, a two-year, $20-million investment to help UT neuroscientists compete for federal and private grants and dramatically advance research of the human brain.

“The investments made by the UT System are changing the trajectory of so many lives for the better,” McRaven said. “Investing in higher education as a whole is crucially important to finding solutions to the world’s biggest problems and to making Texas a smarter, healthier, stronger place. My thanks to Gov. Abbott and to the Texas Legislature for making this a priority.”

About The University of Texas System

Educating students, providing care for patients, conducting groundbreaking research and serving the needs of Texans and the nation for more than 130 years, The University of Texas System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States, with nine academic universities, six health institutions and an enrollment of more than 214,000. The UT System confers more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees, educates two-thirds of the state’s health care professionals annually and accounts for almost 70 percent of all research funds awarded to public universities in Texas. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $15.6 billion (FY 2015) including $3 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. With about 90,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.

News Contact Information

Jenny LaCoste-Caputo:   jcaputo@utsystem.edu   • 512-499-4361(direct) • 512-574-5777 (cell)  
Karen Adler:   kadler@utsystem.edu   • 512-499-4360 (direct) • 210-912-8055 (cell)