Over the past decade, the University of Kentucky has grown significantly as a research university. Cross-disciplinary research, the centerpiece of our $360-million research enterprise, is sparked by the fact that UK is one of the few universities in the country with nine academic colleges, multidisciplinary research centers and institutes, and a medical center located on one central campus. More than half of UK’s grant and contract dollars come from out-of-state sources, providing a major boost to the Commonwealth's economy. UK has successfully attracted top faculty from across the country, who are working hard to solve some of Kentucky's biggest problems, while protecting and enhancing its natural resources.
With an emphasis on university-state-industry partnerships, the Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) is creating leading-edge clean coal technology and demonstrating a system that uses algae to capture carbon dioxide from coal-burning power plants and convert it to biodiesel, animal feed, fertilizer, and chemicals. Another such partnership is developing a new product, an energy-efficient modular house, to revitalize Kentucky’s houseboat manufacturing industry. UK’s Houseboat to Energy Efficient Residences (HBEER) is a partnership between the UK College of Design, CAER, the Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation, and the Kentucky Housing Corporation.
In the health care realm, UK last year received its largest ever research award, $20 million from the National Institutes of Health, to speed up the process of moving research discoveries to health care solutions. This huge boost will meld UK's research strengths in cancer, heart disease and diabetes—the most devastating health problems we face. With each of these projects, UK researchers are focusing on ways to enhance the lives, and livelihoods, of Kentuckians.
UK is also unique in that it offers undergraduates, including incoming freshman, opportunities to work with research faculty. The Office of Undergraduate Research is dedicated to providing coordination, leadership and support for the many programs at UK designed to promote undergraduate research, scholarship, and creativity. Students engaged in these programs reap the rewards of inquiry-based learning by ultimately becoming professional, civic and academic leaders.