In the face of university-wide budget cuts, outside funding for UF research has increased.

Funding for the 2008-2009 fiscal year increased by 2.2 percent for a total of $574 million, received by about 2,000 faculty members, according to a university news release.

Federal funding, which makes up 58 percent of UF's total awards and comes from institutions such as the U.S. Department of Defense, National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health, rose by 4.3 percent to $336.5 million.

Funding from state agencies, which makes up 13 percent, however, decreased by 8 percent to $75.8 million.

"Everyone knows Florida has had a tough time economically, but this is a bright piece of news that is beneficial to everybody," said Steve Orlando, UF spokesman. "It's kind of refreshing, actually."

Orlando said medical research from state universities can provide long-term economic stability and growth in a state that relies on unsteady industries like tourism.

Half of UF's total research awards - about $289.3 million - fund the Health Science Center, according to the news release. Some of the center's studies focus on blindness, hypertension and smoking cessation.

Fifteen million dollars of the College of Engineering's $72.8 million in awards is for developing alternative energy sources through the Florida Energy Systems Consortium.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences was awarded $47.9 million. Some of the CLAS awards went to physics department research on gravitational waves, funding for which reached nearly $4 million last year.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences received $120.1 million, some of which will be used to study the citrus genome and improve the flavor of tomatoes.

UF Vice President of Research Win Phillips said some of the faculty research funded by the awards can stimulate the economy by creating products that can then be patented and sold, making more jobs.

"The good news is that most of the money comes [from] out of state," Phillips said.

The university community - everyone from construction workers to graduate students - will benefit from UF's status as a large research enterprise, Phillips said.

UF's awards fund the construction of new buildings, such as the Pathogen Research Facility near the Genetics Cancer Research Center, which will provide research space. Graduate students are paid by research grants from the award funds to carry out the research while undergraduates have access to the technology.

Phillips believes the faculty's energy and competitive spirit was a major factor in bringing in more outside funds.

"Our faculty are trying very hard because we believe in solving problems in our nation and world," Phillips said.