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An artisṯs rendition of an example net zero energy classroom at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Image credit: Project Frog

The University of Hawaiʻi received a total of $425 million in sponsored funds to close fiscal year 2015 (FY2015). The total reflects an increase of 8.5 percent over the previous year’s tally of $392 million and marks the first increase in extramural award funding after three straight years of decline.

“With the effects of sequestration, budget cuts and the realignment of R&D funding priorities, the last few years have been extremely challenging not only for the University of Hawaiʻi but for every research institution across the nation,” said Vassilis L. Syrmos, UH vice president for research and innovation. “However, thanks to the dedicated efforts of our faculty, support staff and students, we not only stopped the slide—but managed an increase of almost 9 percent in funding.”

The alignment of the University of Hawaiʻi’s research enterprise with both the nation’s and the state’s critical challenges is manifested by UH Mānoa’s Hawaiʻi Natural Energy Institute, which received $8.5 million from the Office of Naval Research for its Asia-Pacific Research Initiative for Sustainable Energy Systems (APRISES) to continue testing and evaluation of renewable generation and power systems controls for smart and micro-grids. APRISES has contributed substantial support for smart- and micro-grid research activities to ongoing efforts on Maui, installation of two net zero energy classrooms to be completed in spring 2016.

At UH Hilo, a National Science Foundation research project that directly impacts the quality of healthcare of local residents is the Pharm2Pharm program at the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy. The innovative pharmacist-care system is designed to reduce medication-related hospitalizations and emergency room visits by establishing teamwork between hospital and community pharmacists in rural counties of Hawaiʻi Island, Maui and Kauaʻi. It is expected to save over $27 million across the state. In FY2015, the program received $5.7 million in the third increment of a $14 million award by NSF.

In addition, during FY2015 UH community college and university campuses were awarded $69 million in federal grants to support programs serving Native Hawaiians, from pre-school through college and career training. These funds are supporting renovations on campuses, leadership development for Native Hawaiians, STEM education, college student success and Hawaiian culture and language.

“The entire state should take pride in our increase in extramural research funding,” said David Lassner, UH president. “This not only advances the Hawaiʻi Innovation Initiative and strengthens our economy, but benefits the people of Hawaiʻi as our remarkable faculty and staff address challenges and opportunities of local and global importance.”

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