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Posted on Thu, Sep 9, 2010 : 3:29 p.m.

University of Michigan's federal stimulus winnings? $277 million and counting

By Nathan Bomey

The University of Michigan has received more than $277 million in funding from the federal economic stimulus package, according to information available on the university's website.

That means the university, which could still receive more stimulus funds, accounts for about 3.6 percent of the $7.7 billion in stimulus funds awarded so far to the entire state of Michigan.

The university celebrated that funding today in an event with U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Michigan, who issued a statement calling U-M "one of the shining examples of the good work that has come as a result of" the stimulus package.

James Woolliscroft and Stephen Forrest.JPG

University of Michigan Medical School Dean James Woolliscroft (left) and Vice President for Research Stephen Forrest, pictured at the North Campus Research Complex in 2009, oversee much of the university's stimulus funding initiatives.

File photo |

Dingell said U-M's stimulus projects had created 503 jobs, although that figure is very difficult to authenticate.

In a report issued last week, Bloomberg said it had conducted its own independent study of the stimulus package and found that U-M had won $272 million in stimulus funding from the National Institutes of Health. That was "the highest discovered by a Bloomberg survey of top research universities," the news organization reported.

It's unclear how Bloomberg arrived at its figure, although it may be attributable to instances in which researchers from several universities were awarded funds for a joint project.

According to U-M's figures, the Medical School accounts for $83.7 million of the university's stimulus funding.

“Our success at securing these awards reflects the creativity, expertise and talent our researchers have been able to focus on the myriad health related problems facing our nation, and the potential impact of their ideas on medical care and scientific understanding of human disease," U-M Medical School Dean James Woolliscroft said in a news release in April. “We are especially pleased to be able to bring significant funding to Michigan to help build the foundation for the state’s long-term economic growth."

U-M's College of Engineering has received $49.95 million, the School of Public Health $36.9 million and the College of Literature, Science and the Arts $21.6 million.

U-M, whose annual research budget passed $1 billion last year, is the Ann Arbor region's largest recipient of money from the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which Congress approved in early 2009.

But other local groups have also been big winners. Ann Arbor-based Merit Network has received more than $111 million in federal stimulus funds to improve broadband Internet access throughout Michigan. Ypsilanti-based Clean Energy Coalition has received $15 million to help its governmental and transit partners buy alternative propulsion vehicles and install clean fueling stations.

The university's top awards include $48 million for an expansion and other projects at the Institute for Social Research; $19.5 million for an Energy Frontier Research Center to discover new solar energy technologies; and a multitude of smaller grants for various scientific research projects.

“This research will expand the learning opportunities for our students, inform and educate the public, serve as a resource for scientific research for the federal government, and spur faculty and students to start small businesses in our community," Dingell said in a statement.

Contact's Nathan Bomey at (734) 623-2587 or You can also follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's newsletters.



Thu, Sep 16, 2010 : 9:36 a.m.

I read an astonishing 3 year study, done by U of M last week. After 3 years, they figured out, that it is not good to drink alcohol on a job interview.....HHHHMMMM. That's money well invested. These are sad days for our country. Politicians borrowing money from china, to buy votes. Is there any integrity left in our political system? I don't care, what party it is. I am disgusted by both. I just hope and pray, that this november, the citizens of this country will elect people of integrity.


Mon, Sep 13, 2010 : 3:35 p.m.

jeepinkev - UM's general fund takes between 30 and 50% off the top of every research dollar received by any of it's faculty, staff, schools or departments for the sort of expenditures you mentioned, plus general IT infrastructure, telephone service (and cell phone repeater antennas) and to support both departmental and university-wide library service. It's called "overhead charges". In many cases the school or department will also level an additional charge for "overhead" against the research grant, even beyond what the university as a whole takes.

Seasoned Cit

Sat, Sep 11, 2010 : 2:45 p.m.

How about a little research and a report on how many jobs have been created by these "stimulus" funds. Could this be why unemployment numbers haven't improved?

A Concerned Citized

Fri, Sep 10, 2010 : 11:36 a.m.

Congratulations to the Medical School and their faculty for securing over $83 million in additional research dollars. The Medical School has extremely innovative faculty and I am sure exciting things will come out of those research dollars. Keep up the good work. On another note, why is John Dingell even part of the story other than to get his name in print again. He had nothing to do with the dollars that were earned by UM faculty. He did not write the grants or advocate on UM's behalf or the State of Michigan. Does he know that he represnts the State?


Fri, Sep 10, 2010 : 9:28 a.m.

Nice to see the U getting even more tax money. Also, since when does a "publicly funded institution" like the U of M, use tax money to pay for political speeches like that of Howard Dean? It is so blatant. Might just as well have the UAW own a piece of the U of M as well...maybe put the Union logo on the shirts of the football team, eh?


Fri, Sep 10, 2010 : 8:15 a.m.

@Nathan Bomey I am totally clear on how and why the money is distributed the way it is. My point was that all this research takes place in buildings, with equipment. It takes money to run and maintain this equipment. For instancem, a lot of facilities rely heavily on climate controlled rooms. Without the general fund money to maintain these rooms and keep them climate controlled, a million dollar research project could easily be lost.

Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball

Fri, Sep 10, 2010 : 7:24 a.m.

Stimulus Money = money given to targeted groups/individuals who will donate back to certain campaigns to keep the 'channel' open. Tax breaks = money Not taken by the Gov in where the Gov loses various aspects of 'control' and the workers gain various aspects of control.. Had the "stimulus' been a tax cut in the range of 780 Billion - we would all be much better off.


Fri, Sep 10, 2010 : 2:29 a.m.

LOL! maybe Woolliscroft and Forrest can show the City of Ann Arbor how to obtain stimulus funds and then, maybe just then, they can get the Stadium bridges repaired! LOL!


Thu, Sep 9, 2010 : 11:59 p.m.

This taxpayer funded University is sitting on somewhere north of 6 BILLION dollars of endowment money and the Fed Gov't feels they need to dump 277 million dollars of stimulus money on them, pure lunacy and stupidity! Meanwhile, most Michigan parents that are lucky enough to have a kid that can get into this university have to take out loans and borrow money to pay the 20 grand a year it costs to attend. Things need to change from top to bottom in education, and that is from bottom( kindergarten) to the top ( college).


Thu, Sep 9, 2010 : 8:17 p.m.

@russellr: You call some of the research projects that are funded under the stimulus bill "stupid" and wasteful. As you are probably aware, all of these awards are highly competetive, reviewed by panels of experts, and have the budget scrutinized by agency staff, who often cut the budget so much that only a fraction of the proposed work can be done. Outright stupid or wasteful projects won't be funded under this system, unless you call any research project that doesn't eventually lead to something tangible stupid and wasteful. Unfortunately, it is next to impossible to tell which project will provide the knowledge base or scientific infrastructure that leads to a new treatment for a major disease, or vastly more efficient solar cells, or similar breakthroughs. If we knew this ahead of time, it wouldn't be called research and most likely left to the private sector. If however, as implied by your comment, you have a crystal ball to make such predictions accurately, by all means volunteer for those review panels. Agencies like NIH and NSF are desparate to find enough qualified experts to do this work, which is essentially unpaid (depending on the agency and panel, the honorarium is around $3 per hour of work, plus travel expenses).


Thu, Sep 9, 2010 : 8:09 p.m.

That's great more of our money going to a university that the majority of us or our kids can never go to and if they can and you are of median income, you'll have to save your whole life to pay their tuition. Plus, i do believe I remember an article last year highlighting U of M's endowment fund that was getting a million dollars a week donation and had over a billion dollars in it. Awesome. Im so excited they got that money,lets see how it stimulates the rest of the working class in Michigan.


Thu, Sep 9, 2010 : 7:47 p.m.

I'm so glad to see the UofM getting more of our tax dollars. We are in a hole so deep we will never get out. America the Great is barely standing now. I love America I would want to be here and live my life than anywhere in the world. Who is printing all this money we don't have and will never have. To bad you can't really see what they are spending it on. Just the main catagories. I'm sure there is ton's of waste in there for some of the stupid research projects they study. It makes me sick all the waste.


Thu, Sep 9, 2010 : 7:10 p.m.

$277,000,000 divided by 503 jobs created = $550,695.83 per job. Excellent... not.

Nathan Bomey

Thu, Sep 9, 2010 : 4:39 p.m.

@jeepinkev To clarify, much of the money classified as being awarded to a specific school or college is actually grant money for specific professors/researchers within those schools and colleges. The money generally funds specific research projects. Here's a list of the specific projects these dollars fund:


Thu, Sep 9, 2010 : 4:31 p.m.

UofM has that fine research facility on Plymouth have the money, now get cracking on Stem Cell before another fruit-cake judge tries to shut it down. This is it's future.


Thu, Sep 9, 2010 : 4:22 p.m.

Reading the title of the article one would be led to believe that the Stimulus was the lotto! Are we all rich for a period of time because we printed money we don't have? Wright had it right.....the chickens.......will come home to roost!


Thu, Sep 9, 2010 : 4:06 p.m.

Insted of awarding all the stimulus money to individual schools (i.e the college of engineering, school of public health etc), I wish they would award some of that to go to the general fund, which pays to maintain the infrastructure that these schools are supported by. Every year, the GF gets cut, and more and more buildings are going up without the funds to maintain them once completed.


Thu, Sep 9, 2010 : 3:08 p.m.

"Dingell said U-M's stimulus projects had created 503 jobs, although that figure is very difficult to authenticate" Most of the figures thrown around by politicians are hard if not impossible to authenticate.


Thu, Sep 9, 2010 : 3:08 p.m.

"$7.7 billion in stimulus funds awarded so far to the entire state of Michigan" Now if the stimulus package was 777 Billion Michigan received 1%. What was our senators doing when the money was distributed? We are number 50 of 50, we have been in a one State recession ever since Granholm took office. An all we can muster is 1%, tell me there is more to this, am I missing something. As for Dingell he is a career politician, I do not buy this one bit! Who is going to pay this money back? Your grand kids that is who, and they will have less than we have today. Wake up America there never was a free lunch! I would have thought Michigan would have least got 5% of that money, based on population alone. Sad very sad, and you voted these people in office? Wake up America, I love this country this is too much "change".