Research Challenge Trust Fund (RCTF)

The state legislature recognized in 1997 that advancing Kentucky’s higher education research standards would require significant financial support.

To accomplish this, the legislature initiated the Research Challenge Trust Fund with the passage of HB1, the Kentucky Postsecondary Education Improvement Act for strategic investment at the University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, and Kentucky’s six regional universities. The RCTF Endowment Match Program matches eligible private gifts on a one–to–one basis.

The program, administered by the Council on Postsecondary Education, creates research–oriented endowed chairs, professorships, graduate fellowships, and endowments for research support and for the university libraries. Funds raised help UK recruit and retain world–class faculty and exceptional students who choose UK because of its innovative research and new economic development. There have been four rounds of RCTF funding allocated to the university:

Widespread Participation in Research Challenge Trust Fund

  • RCTF funds have accounted for over $202.1 million in private gifts that were matched with over $202.1 million in state funds. These totals include RCTF II, III, and IV; but do not include RCTF I.
  • The $66.7 allocation for RCTF IV was completely claimed in March 2007 and all payments from the state have been received.
  • RCTF has generated 33,012 gifts from 12,731 donors.
  • The RCTF donors represent 6,095 alumni; 5,518 non–alumni donors; 826 corporations; and 120 foundations. The remaining donors are organizations, associations, and trusts.

Bucks for Brains Helps Level the Playing Field

  • RCTF has generated 78 chairs, 190 professorships, 280 fellowships, scholarships, lectures, enrichment funds, research support and endowment for the William T. Young library. These will allow UK to be more competitive in recruiting both high–caliber faculty and students.
  • UK’s endowment has grown from $219.7 million on June 30, 1998 to more than $916.5 million on December 31, 2007, making our Top 20 goal seem more attainable. The university can offer scholarships to more deserving and desirable students who might not otherwise continue their education.

RCTF Endowed Funds Established in the Campaign:

  • Endowed Chairs                          78
  • Endowed Professorships              190
  • Fellowships                               280

For more information about the RCTF at UK, please see the Research Challenge Initiative.

For further information, please contact