UCSF Is Top Public Recipient of NIH Funding for 14th Straight Year

By Nina Bai

In 2020, UC San Francisco again was the top public recipient of funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), maintaining the spot for the 14th year in a row. UCSF continued to rank high among all public and private institutions nationwide, ranking third overall.

In the 2020 federal fiscal year, ending in September, the University was awarded $685.6 million in funding, a slight increase over the 2019 total and a new record for NIH funding to a public university. The funding was distributed among 1,388 NIH grants and contracts.

Top NIH Funding Recipients, 2020

  1. Johns Hopkins University: $807,432,003 
  2. Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center: $758,431,960 
  3. UC San Francisco: $685,608,202 
  4. UCLA: $673,201,228 
  5. University of Michigan: $641,965,656 
  6. Leidos Biomedical Research: $614,137,041 
  7. Duke University: $607,172,798 
  8. University of Pennsylvania: $593,605,914 
  9. University of Pittsburgh: $570,146,095 
  10. Stanford University: $560,644,462

The highly competitive funds represent awards and contracts to the UCSF Schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy, as well as the Graduate Division. They support UCSF scientists in their efforts to understand the causes of and discover treatments for diseases ranging from cancer to diabetes to neurodegenerative diseases.

In 2020, NIH funding also provided critical support for COVID-19 research amid the ongoing pandemic. UCSF received 21 grants and contracts related to COVID-19 research, totaling $23.2 million.

“We are proud of UCSF’s continued support from the NIH, which plays a crucial role in our missions to find new and better treatments for disease and to provide the best possible education for the next generation of nurses, dentists, physicians and pharmacists,” said UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood, MBBS. “This support was invaluable in 2020, when the NIH provided funds that allowed many of our scientists to rapidly pivot their research focus to understanding, treating and preventing COVID-19.”

Schools Maintain Top Spots

UCSF’s Schools of Dentistry, Medicine and Pharmacy ranked first among their peer institutions in NIH funding. The School of Nursing ranked third overall and first among public schools in the field.

The School of Dentistry received $25.9 million in NIH funding and regained the top spot among dental schools nationwide from second place the year before. The School of Medicine remained first in the nation for the ninth straight year, with more than $601 million in NIH funding.

The School of Pharmacy was awarded $40.9 million in NIH funding, a nearly $15 million increase from 2019, and continued its extraordinary 41 straight years in the top spot among pharmacy schools nationwide.

The School of Nursing received nearly $11.5 million in NIH funding, $1.1 million more than in 2019, maintaining both its first place among public recipients and third place among nursing schools overall.

The Graduate Division received more than $29 million in NIH training grants, $2 million more than the year before. These grants support thousands of graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and other trainees in the division’s 19 science and social science PhD programs, 11 master’s degree programs, and two professional doctorates.

Funding from NIH training grants and UCSF’s Discovery Fellows Program helps ensure that all first- and second-year students pursuing doctorates in the basic and biomedical sciences at UCSF receive full financial support.

“In 2020, NIH funding provided the essential foundation for so much of what we do at UCSF,” said Dan Lowenstein, MD, executive vice chancellor and provost. “Through our work, we will continue to strive to earn the confidence and support of the American people, and to deliver new insights that lessen suffering throughout the world.”

School of Medicine

1. UC San Francisco: $601,764,262
2. UCLA: $590,984,767
3. Johns Hopkins University: $533,502,805
4. Yale University: $485,771,160
5. Columbia University: $468,381,417

School of Nursing

1. Johns Hopkins University: $13,181,413
2. University of Pennsylvania:  $12,891,914
3. UC San Francisco: $11,468,876
4. Columbia University Health Sciences: $9,929,827
5. Emory University: $9,291,373

School of Pharmacy

1. UC San Francisco: $40,905,190
2: University of Florida: $19,354,145
3. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill: $18,537,327
4. University of Kentucky: $15,329,858
5. University of Washington: $14,864,292

School of Dentistry

1. UC San Francisco: $25,903,058
2. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor: $22,528,704
3. New York University: $15,454,032
4. University of Maryland, Baltimore: $15,231,514
5. University of Southern California: $13,704,027

Annual rankings of NIH funding are based on the most current government data as compiled by the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research.