In an all-time record, the University of Montana received nearly $83 million in research awards in 2015, according to a news release from UM.

The previous record was $71 million in 2009.

"Here at UM, we have faculty with renowned national and international reputations," said Scott Whittenburg, UM vice president for research and creative scholarship, in a statement.

"This new record shows how much our external sponsors value the contributions made by our research community."

Research expenditures went up 11 percent from 2014, according to the news release. However, the number of proposals actually went down eight from 637 in 2014.

"This means we had a greater success in percentage of proposals being funded, combined with larger awards," Whittenburg said.

The awards funded projects across a variety of fields.

A National Science Foundation grant to anthropology professor Anna Prentiss is the first major study of "human, climate and resource relationships" in the northern Bristol Bay area of Alaska, according to UM.

"The work will explore 1,000 years of human history," the news release said.

A team led by biology professor Frank Rosenzweig was selected for a five-year, $8.2 million NASA grant to study how life evolved on Earth. Space agency officials believe a better understanding of how life propagates here will help them find it elsewhere in the universe.

UM noted the amounts it received from federal agencies:

  • $15 million from the federal Department of Labor;
  • $10.3 million from the National Institutes of Health;
  • $8.9 million from the National Science Foundation;
  • $4.7 million from the Army Corps of Engineers;
  • $4.3 million from NASA;
  • $4.1 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture;
  • $3.8 million from the Department of Defense; and 
  • $1.8 million from the Department of the Interior.