UH Mānoa Research Programs Get Funding Boost

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HOT team members deploy water sampling equipment. PC: Tara Clemente.

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa has received a boost in hundreds of millions of dollars in federal and private funding to support world-class research spanning multiple disciplines of study.

In fiscal budget year 2018 extramural funding at UH Mānoa increased to $301,095,266, a 2.4% rise. The funding increase is a welcome change from fiscal year 2017 when research funding decreased by 4.7% from the previous year. According to a UH Mānoa news release, securing research funds has become increasingly competitive since the recession of 2008.

“This is a testament to the incredible work of our world-class researchers, scientists and faculty and their dedication to the pursuit of knowledge in their disciplines,” said Vice Chancellor for Research Michael Bruno. “The research being done at Mānoa is having a direct impact on Hawaiʻi and the world, while providing invaluable opportunities for experiential learning to our graduate and undergraduate students.”


The funding was attracted by 29 schools, colleges and units at UH Mānoa. The School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) accounted for the majority at $93,144,266 in 2018—up about 15% from 2017.

One of SOEST’s high-profile projects is the Hawaiʻi Ocean Time-series (HOT) program. HOT received $9 million from the National Science Foundation. During the last three decades, the HOT program in the Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education, has provided crucial long-term data revealing how the ocean responds to climate change.

A cross-disciplinary team of UH researchers also received a $1 million donation from the W.M. Keck Foundation to support a groundbreaking project led by Margaret McFall-Ngai, director of the UH Pacific Biosciences Research Center. The project establishes the Waimea watershed on the north shore of Oʻahu as a model microbiome mesocosm—a study site small enough to research closely but large enough to reveal the complexities of natural systems.


UH Mānoa’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources received $2.1 million in funding from the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

UH Mānoa is one of 115 institutions classified as R1: Research Universities by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education and is recognized as a land-, sea- , sun- and space-grant institution. The university is also classified by the Carnegie Foundation as having “very high research activity.”

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