by Fernando Quintero
Good news for the more than 3,800 funded research, education and public service projects under way at Berkeley: There is still money out there to be had.
"Some people are saying there is no more federal funding for basic research in America. That's simply not true," said Joyce Freedman, director of the campus' Sponsored Projects Office, which recently published its annual report.
According to the report, new awards made to Berkeley increased for the third year in a row-a 30 percent rise in funding overall.
"I don't think the amount of money available is shrinking. It's just that Congress is asking, 'What are you doing with those dollars?' They're putting the squeeze on how the money is spent. They want to fund winners. And Berkeley is a winning university."
Federal agencies are Berkeley's major source of grants and contracts, followed by private organizations, State of California agencies and other government agencies.
The remaining sources include awards from foreign governments, other state agencies, and city and county sponsors.
Funding to life and health sciences accounted for nearly a third of all funds received in fiscal year 1997, amounting to $91.9 million, followed by engineering and computer sciences with $90.2 million and physical sciences with $62.4 million. Social sciences and humanities totaled $35.8 million. Public service programs totaled $14.8 million, and educational projects brought in $12 million.
Freedman said money for social sciences and humanities was especially plentiful.
"There is money out there for other disciplines, but an increase in matching requirements has put some people off," said Freedman. "There is also a lot of piecing together of funds people can do. It takes a little more effort, but it provides money needed for such things as conferences, seminars, travel and training."
She said another trend in funding is cost sharing, otherwise known as matching funds.
Freedman added that Congress is making it easier for private industry to fund research.
"Research and development within private industry is all but gone," said Freedman. "This opens up a whole new area for industrial research. It's a nice trend for industrial sponsors, and it's a matter of them wanting to work with the best. And...Berkeley is considered right up there."
For faculty and staff interested in learning more about the Sponsored Projects Office, including searches for funding sources from national databases, call 642-0120 or e-mail http://www.spo.berkeley.edu.