OHSU Raises $596M for Research, Breaking Previous Fundraising Record

Jason E. Kaplan

The university’s Knight Cancer Center received largest share of funding in the 2022-23 fiscal year.

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Oregon Health & Science University received a record $595.9 million in research funding during its 2023 fiscal year, according to an annual breakdown released by the university this week. The total breaks the school’s recent record of $575 million in 2021, according to Franny White, senior media specialist at OHSU.

Approximately 58% of OHSU’s 2023 fiscal year funding came from the National Institutes of Health, which contributed $343.5 million to OHSU research during the school’s fiscal year, which ran from July 2022 to June 2023. Industry partners, including pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers, were the second largest sponsor of OHSU research, with $129.3 million. Other federal agencies, including the Human Resource Services Agency, Center for Disease Control and the Department of Defense accounted for $70.4 million. Foundations and nonprofit organizations contributed $45.3 million, and the state of Oregon contributed $6.73 million.

OHSU’s Knight Cancer Institute, which was designated a National Cancer Institute Designated Cancer Center in 1997 and was renamed in 2017, was the institute that received the largest share of research funding. The center raised $126.3 million in 2022-23, a 44.2% increase over the previous year, according to White.

Several OHSU departments saw significant research growth. Research funding to the Department of Urology at the OHSU School of Medicine increased $1.64 million, a 605% increase. The Oregon Center for Regenerative Medicine increased by $1.90 million, approximately 99.2%, and the Oregon Clinical and Translational Research Institute increased 84.5%, or $6.91 million.

The OHSU-PSU School of Public Health saw $5.78 million increase in research funding, or 40%, between the 2022 and 2023 fiscal years. In the press release, Marguerita Lightfoot, Ph.D., associate dean for research and Ronald Naito-John McAnulty Professor in Health Equity in the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health, said the school’s research funding has grown at a steady rate during the last three or four years. Lightfoot partially attributed the growth to an increased focus on public health following the COVID-19 pandemic, as more grants are coming from the federal government and pharmaceutical companies.

The OHSU School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry received a combined $13.7 million in research funding during the 2023 fiscal year through its 30 staff members, — representing an increase of more than 28%. Bonnie Nagel, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and vice chair for psychiatric research in the OHSU School of Medicine, said in the press release that the growth in the school’s psychiatry departments is partly a response to the ongoing mental health crisis and generous philanthropic support.

A large portion of the psychiatry department’s expanding research portfolio focuses on child and adolescent mental health, including participating in the nation’s largest long-term study of early brain and child development, which follows a group of pregnant individuals and their children from pregnancy through childhood to assess how exposure to substances and environmental factors, both before and after birth, may impact brain development.

Other research projects include advancing a method to turn a skin cell into an egg to produce embryos for treating infertility, accelerating the adoption of artificial intelligence and machine learning to address health research challenges, and understanding how and why stem cell transplants have cured HIV in certain people, which may help make a cure more commonplace.