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By Lucas Vasques via Unsplash 

What does $23.7 million get you? For UF’s College of Pharmacy, the answer is fourth place.

The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) ranked 142 pharmacy programs across the country, and UF made it in the top five in all three categories.

The UF College of Pharmacy ranked fourth in the total amount of funding with $23.7 million, which includes private and public money. In federal research funding, UF ranked fifth with $19.3 million. Of the federal money, the college received $16.5 million from the National Institute of Health, landing it the fourth spot in that specific category. The rankings, released May 8, were based on the time between October 2016 to September 2017.

Matt Splett, director of communications for the college, said a number of factors contributed to UF’s national rankings, especially the faculty’s impressive research on various aspects of human health.

“Funding agencies look at the research,” Splett said. “They see that there is a lot of potential there, and that is why these grants have been awarded.”

While UF is the No. 1 pharmacy college in the state according to the U.S. News & World Report rankings, Splett said the college is trying to help not only the state of Florida but also the world with its discoveries.

Part of the college’s research aims to address opioid abuse, Splett said. Researchers look for alternatives to handle pain, stop addiction and safely use existing drugs.

Julie Johnson, the college’s dean, credited some of the success in grant funding to the new faculty, including those working on the opioid research that draws in a lot of funding. New hires lead to a more advanced research group tackling pain and addiction.

“It’s brought new energy and expertise to the existing faculty that has allowed us really to step up,” Johnson said.

Johnson believes the college will move up in the rankings when they come out next year. The college has already collected more funding than it had in the previous cycle.

“My research team and I had really mapped the trajectory that we thought we would be on and hoped we would be on in terms of both dollars and rankings, and we’re ahead of both of those,” Johnson said. “For next year, we’re confident that our numbers are going to be stronger than the data that just came out.”