Iowa State, University of Iowa set new funding records for fiscal year 2021

Iowa State University and the University of Iowa have both released their external funding records for the budget year that ended June 30, and both universities surpassed their previous funding records.

Iowa State University attracted $559.1 million in external funding for the fiscal year that ended June 30, breaking the previous record of $509.2 million set in fiscal year 2018.

The University of Iowa reported double-digit percentage spikes in several funding categories, starting with its 23 percent jump in total external funding, from last year’s record-setting $666.2 million to $818 million for fiscal year 2021.

Research related to COVID-19 continued to receive significant external funding in FY2021, but public and private support also spurred fresh explorations in the areas of medicine, the environment, math, history, the arts, and the humanities. 

Here are some of the research projects that received funding support this year:


  • The UI Carver College of Medicine received $2.7 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to explore the role played by the RABL6A-PP2A cancer pathways in neuroendocrine tumor.
  • The CLAS Department of Mathematics was awarded $2.1 million from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) to expand training and research seminars in the department’s geometry and topology group.
  • The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Department of Chemistry, earned a $363,731 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to explore the relationship between bioaerosols and the formation of clouds and storms in a collaboration with colleagues at Colorado State University. Bioaerosols are airborne biological particles, including pollen, fungal spores, and soil bacteria.  


  • The Agriculture and Rural Communities (ARA) Wireless Living Lab for Smart and Connected Rural Communities recently won a five-year grant of $16 million. The project will test and develop affordable, high-capacity rural broadband technology.
  • A project called COALESCE has won a five-year, $7 million Cyber-Physical Systems Frontier award. Researchers are applying layers of technologies – including sensors, machine learning, artificial intelligence, small robots and drones – that could allow farmers to fertilize, weed and cull single plants in a field, rather than relying on broad measures such as heavy machinery and broadcast spraying.
  • With more than $900,000 in grants, Iowa State researchers are using their expertise in graphene-based biosensors to develop better, cheaper, quicker and more accessible testing for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.