University of Michigan scientists and engineers have been awarded more than 500 federal stimulus-package research grants to date, totaling $301.1 million.

The total, through Nov. 30, places UM at or near the top of the list among U.S. colleges and universities receiving funding from the $787 billion federal stimulus package, known formally as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

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“This is a tremendous validation of the important role that University of Michigan faculty members play in revitalizing the state and national economies,” said Stephen Forrest, UM vice president for research.

Forrest included an update on UM stimulus awards in the Annual Report of Research and Scholarship FY2010 Financial Summary he presented to the Board of Regents at its Thursday meeting.

The UM Medical School has taken in more than half the stimulus awards (286 of 547) and nearly one-third of the dollar total ($93 million). The Institute for Social Research ranks second with $55.6 million, followed by the College of Engineering ($50.1 million) and the School of Public Health ($40.3 million). All dollar totals in the Board of Regents report are through Nov. 30.

The National Institutes of Health has provided the lion’s share of the awards, followed by the National Science Foundation. In addition, stimulus funding from the U.S. Energy Department is paying for a $19.5 million UM research center to explore new materials for solar cells.

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The solar project is the UM’s largest stimulus award to date. Others in the top five include a $17.9 million genotyping project for Type 2 diabetes, awarded to the School of Public Health, and a $14.8 million expansion project at the Institute for Social Research.

UM researchers also were awarded 13 federal stimulus grants, totaling $6.8 million, for research projects involving both adult and embryonic stem cells.

In his written report to the regents, Forrest also noted that in fiscal year 2010 — for the second straight year — research spending at UM exceeded $1 billion. The total grew 12.1 percent over the previous year to $1.14 billion.

Forrest also noted that UM ranks first in research and development spending among the nation’s public universities and colleges, according to the latest rankings from the National Science Foundation.

It’s the 11th time in the past 25 years that UM has held the top research position among the nation’s public universities. Among all U.S. universities and colleges, both public and private, UM moved from fourth place to second place, trailing only Johns Hopkins University.

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“Our faculty has really risen to the challenge,” Forrest said. “And one reason they’ve been so successful is that they realize they are helping to change the economic prospects of our state, which has been so hard hit.”