UCSF Is Top Public Recipient of NIH Funding for 15th Year

By Nina Bai

For the 15th year in a row, UC San Francisco garnered the top spot among public institutions in funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2021. UCSF continued to rank highly among all public and private institutions nationwide, ranking fourth overall.

The University was awarded nearly 1,500 NIH grants and contracts, amounting to more than $709 million in funds – a $23 million increase from the 2020 total and a new record for NIH funding to a public university.

The highly competitive funds represent awards and contracts to the UCSF Schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy, as well as the Graduate Division, during the 2021 fiscal year that ended in September. 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 the past year, NIH funding continued to provide critical support for COVID-19 research amid the ongoing pandemic.

“This NIH funding has helped UCSF researchers gain new fundamental insights in biology, develop new therapies for intractable diseases, and address health inequities,” said UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood, MBBS. “We are proud of our researchers’ work and the promise it offers for vulnerable individuals in California and throughout the world.”

Top NIH Funding Recipients, 2021

  1. Johns Hopkins University: $824,856,274
  2. New York University:  $809,311,644
  3. Duke University: $731,237,450
  4. UC San Francisco: $709,018,244
  5. Leidos Biomedical Research: $653,182,427
  6. University of Pennsylvania: $641,789,096
  7. Washington University: $623,444,643
  8. Stanford University: $611,354,637
  9. University of Michigan at Ann Arbor: $609,038,367
  10. Massachusetts General Hospital: $600,667,106


Schools Claim Top Spots

UCSF’s Schools of Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy ranked first among their peer institutions in NIH funding. The School of Medicine ranked second overall, with $629.6 million in grants, and was first among public schools in the field.

The School of Nursing received almost $13.2 million in NIH funding and rose to the top spot among nursing schools nationwide from third place the year before.

Meanwhile, the School of Pharmacy extended its extraordinary run in first place among pharmacy schools nationwide for the 42nd straight year. The school received $39.5 million in funding, nearly double that of the next recipient.  

The School of Dentistry received $22 million in NIH funding and maintained the top spot among dental schools nationwide.

School of Nursing

1. UC San Francisco: $13,152,764
2. University of Pennsylvania: $10,817,966
3. Emory University: $10,530,372
4. Columbia University Health Sciences: $9,591,821
5. Duke University: $8,463,412

School of Medicine

1. New York University School of Medicine: $809,281,610
2. UC San Francisco: $629,550,692
3. Duke University: $608,453,942
4. Washington University St. Louis: $576,556,160
5. Johns Hopkins University: $566,920,824

Graduate Division Training Grants

1. University of Pennsylvania: $35,705,628
2. Johns Hopkins University: $34,132,500
3. UC San Francisco: $29,113,828
4. University of Michigan at Ann Arbor: $26,504,706
5. University of Washington: $24,961,037

School of Pharmacy

1. UC San Francisco: $39,453,841
2: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill: $20,801,322
3. University of Florida: $19,033,784
4. University of New Mexico Health Sciences: $15,534,019
5. University of Kentucky: $14,311,589

School of Dentistry

1. UC San Francisco: $22,033,043
2. University of Michigan: $20,379,062
3. University of Pennsylvania: $15,612,277
4. University of Southern California: $15,305,630
5. University of Florida: $11,665,314

Top UCSF NIh recipients: principal investigators and centers

2. Alan Ashworth, PhD, Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, $9.27 million
3. Monica Gandhi, MD, MPH, AIDS & COVID Research, $9.12 million
4. Harold Collard, MD, MS, CTSI, $8.22 million
5. Steven Deeks, MD, Delaney AIDS Research Enterprise to Cure HIV, $6.95 million

This year’s funding also included more than $29 million in training grants – the most of any public institution – for the UCSF Graduate Division. 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.

“These training grants provide critical financial resources for graduate students as they embark on their scientific careers,” said Dan Lowenstein, MD, executive vice chancellor and provost. “By enabling students to focus on fundamental discoveries that will inform science, medicine and public health for years to come, this support is an investment in the future.”

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