Formally known as the Research Challenge Trust Fund, Bucks for Brains won the “expanding research capacity” category of the 2011 State Science and Technology Institute’s (SSTI) Excellence in Technology Based Economic Development (TBED) national award program.

Bucks for Brains matches state dollars with private donations to encourage research at both the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky and to strengthen key programs at Kentucky’s comprehensive universities.

Since 1998, UofL has received $115 million of the total $410 the state has allotted. When matched, that amount doubled.

“The Bucks for Brains program has been a game changer for the University of Louisville. It has allowed us to recruit the best researchers and build research infrastructure that would not have been possible without matching dollars from the state,” said UofL President James Ramsey.

“This award is confirmation that the Bucks for Brains program is moving Kentucky’s research, economic development and education in the right direction and deserves another round of funding from the Kentucky legislature,” he said.

Through 2010, Bucks for Brains monies have made possible the increase in endowed chairs at Kentucky public universities to 252 from 56 and an increase in endowed professorships to 354 from 53. Over that same period, UofL and UK faculty and staff generated extramural research and development expenditures increased 247 percent from $105.2 million to $364.8 million.

Bucks for Brains’ primary goals are to promote economic development, create high-tech jobs and raise the standard of living of Kentucky residents through strategic investments in research-active faculty and staff, graduate assistants and infrastructure.