The University of Cincinnati stands among the nation’s top 25 public research universities in the United States, according to the National Science Foundation.
That research leadership has translated into increased research support from federal agencies, private industry and others in recent years. Today, it was reported that external support for research at UC for fiscal year 2007 hit an all-time high of $333.5 million. That’s a 28 percent jump from just five years ago when external funding for research at UC stood at $260 million in fiscal year 2002.
Not surprisingly, The Chronicle of Higher Education lists the university in the most prestigious “very high” category in terms of research activity as reported by the Carnegie Foundation. And at various points throughout 2007, the Chronicle also covered individual UC research projects – projects as diverse as a $5.5 million bequest to research Parkinson’s disease as well as a back-cover feature on UC’s prestigious solar house project (which was also covered by National Public Radio, USA Today and BusinessWeek).
Often, in UC’s collaborative environment, such investigative fields overlap – as in research covered by Scientific American magazine that involved computer software used in the hope of one day coaxing stem cells to develop into human eyes in the lab…or UC/NASA tests to determine if robotic technology is key to provide adequate medical care for astronauts during extended flights.
UC research collaboratives are exemplified by ongoing work between Bob Frank, professor of psychology, and Bob Gesteland, professor emeritus of cell biology, neurology and anatomy, and their sniff-magnitude test developed to provide a potential warning regarding a patient’s likelihood for developing Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases. That work was recently featured in The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune and Popular Science as well as on CNN.
Similarly, John Hancock, professor of architecture, saw his efforts to use visualization technology to recreate historical sites featured in The Wall Street Journal along with other top-rank media, including USA Today, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune as well as CBS and ABC along with outlets as far away as Egypt.
Even student research work at UC received prominent coverage. Design student Ryan Eder’s senior-thesis research and conceptual design that promises better workouts for those in wheelchairs was featured by BusinessWeek and The Discovery Channel.
Likewise, computer science and engineering student Julia Taylor and Lawrence Mazlack, coordinator of the university’s Applied Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, saw their project to develop computer software that understands jokes (important since we rely on computers more and more even though computers cannot fully handle the way humans communicate) was featured in newspapers like the Los Angeles Times and in publications as far away as Australia and India.
All of the attention seems a natural, according to Sandra Degen, vice president of research at UC. She said, “The sheer amount and variety of media attention is a fitting tribute to the quality of research and education in our nationally and internationally recognized programs. It’s due to the students, faculty, curriculum demands and opportunities we provide and partnerships we seek out. All combine for a big impact on how people live today and improving all of our lives for tomorrow.”
UC’s research impact on the world does indeed range widely: U.S. News & World Report, The Washington Post, The New York Times and other outlets provided coverage to UC work on numerous occasions in past months. For instance, outlets as diverse as BBC News, United Press International and Scripps Howard News Service featured research by Grace LeMasters, professor of environmental health, and colleague James Lockey, professor of environmental health, that suggests firefighters are at a far higher risk of developing certain cancers.
Meanwhile, USA Today covered UC projects as varied as work by stroke researcher Dawn Kleindorfer, associate professor of clinical neurology, along with a study on stalking by Bonnie Fisher, professor of criminal justice.
The international and national headlines earned by the university’s research contributions are matched by regional attention from the likes of The Cleveland Plain Dealer covering UC research on recidivism rates, climate change and DNA evidence along with The Columbus Dispatch covering UC research related to bridge safety and mental health in prisons.
And locally, UC’s research has been frequently noted, earning the university prominent headlines by the hundreds from Cincinnati-area news media.