Research Report 2010

Texas Research

DPRI and Dr. GeorgeThe University of Texas at Austin is one of the world's leading research universities. Its faculty and research staff generated more than $644 million in federal and corporate funding last year. This research funding and the graduate students it attracts help contribute about $2.8 billion and about 16,000 jobs annually to the Texas economy.


From the Vice President for Research

Juan Sanchez

The breadth and depth of The University of Texas at Austin's research enterprise was on full display in 2010.

Our scientists and scholars, from many disciplines but united in the common purpose of advancing knowledge, made strides toward the future with discoveries in energy, biomedicine, supercomputing and the humanities. They made discoveries that uncovered key information about our planet and its past as well as other planets and stars.

The university continued to have an impact on local, state and national economic endeavors, granting 32 licenses for commercializing university-developed technology. Licensing revenue increased by 40 percent to $14.3 million.

-- Dr. Juan Sanchez, Vice President for Research






Research Highlights

Welcome to the 2010 Report on Research for The University of Texas at Austin. Here are highlights of significant research for the year:

FASTRAC satellites

Record Research Funding

The University of Texas at Austin received $644 million in sponsored research funding in 2009-10, an all-time high for the university, and a 36 percent increase since 2005. That included $46.1 million through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The university is second in the nation among public universities without a medical school in research expenditures from federal sources.

Dell Pediatric Research Institute

The Dell Pediatric Research Institute opened in 2010. It mission is to translate scientific research to improve children’s health. Early efforts include work on birth defects and childhood obesity.

Economic Impact

The university granted 32 licenses to commercialize university-developed technology and licensing revenue increased to $14.3 million. Thirteen companies were created based on university-developed technologies.

The Austin Technology Incubator graduated companies in big ways: Smooth-Stone received $48 million in venture investment, and Phurnace Software was bought by BMC.

Rapid Research Responses

University researchers helped assess the damage of the Haiti earthquake and identified future earthquake hazards. Other university researchers tracked the Gulf oil spill, assessed damage and how it can be repaired.

Advanced Computing

The Texas Advanced Computing Center will acquire a $9 million system that will support more than 1,000 research projects in science and engineering.

Penguin in Peru

Science and Engineering

Paleontologists unearthed the 36 million-year-old fossil of the first extinct penguin with preserved evidence of scales and feathers.

Geologists reconstructed the formation of two mysterious features in the northern ice cap of Mars, while finding new evidence of climate change on the planet.

Engineering students designed and built two satellites that were launched into orbit, the first mission of its kind.


Chemistry professors discovered a process that uses quantum dots that could double the efficiency of solar panels.

Engineering researchers made a key discovery that advanced the feasibility of graphene, a one-atom thick material that’s seen as useful component in a range of devices.

Life Science and Society

Biologists uncovered new genes deep within organisms as diverse as plants, worms and yeast that are responsible for causing human diseases such as cancer and deafness.

Moderate drinking, about one to two drinks per day, reduces mortality among older and middle-aged adults, psychology researchers found.

High levels of foreclosures in a community do not independently lead to increased crime rates, as previously believed, sociology professors discovered.

A linguistics professor has found that toddlers develop their own individual structures for using language that are very different from what we traditionally think of as grammar.

Award Winners

Dr. Eiichiro Komatsu, an astronomer, received the 25th annual Nishinomiya-Yukawa Memorial Prize for physics, one of the top prizes in the field.

Dr. Allan MacDonald, a physicist, was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Keith P. Johnston, chemical engineering professor, was elected to the National Academy of Engineering.

Dr. William M. Sage, vice provost for health affairs and professor in the School of Law, was elected to the Institute of Medicine.

Dr. Sharon Horner and Dr. Diane Tyler, professors of in the School of Nursing, were elected to the American Academy of Nursing.

Dr. King Davis, Dr. Barbara White, Dr. Allen Rubin, professors in the School of Social Work, were elected fellows of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare.

Dr. John Tate, professor emeritus in the Department of Mathematics, was awarded the Abel Prize, the highest honor mathematics.

Research funding by yearFunding Numbers

Funding for research at The University of Texas at Austin has averaged $564 million over the past four years. Most of the funding comes from federal research agencies such as the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense.





Research funding by source