USDOT Taps Universities to Lead Innovative Research with UTC Grants

USDOT Taps Universities to Lead Innovative Research with UTC Grants

December 16, 2016  | Alexander Bond

December 16, 2016

On December 5th, USDOT announced the winners of the University Transportation Centers (UTC) competition mandated in the FAST Act. Each award was given to a consortium led by a single school, with 3-10 others acting as consortium team members. Awards decisions were based on the qualifications of the proposed team, areas of emphasis, local matching fund availability, and a commitment to research dissemination.

USDOT announced 32 grant awards ranging from $1.4 million to $2.8 million per year, with 75 universities as sub-recipients (a university can appear as a sub-recipient more than once). A full list of award winners can be seen here, and a map of awarded centers can be viewed here.

UTC will perform $60 million of research and education activities each year over the life of the FAST Act. There are three types of grants:

  1. National Centers that are support research of national importance;
  2. Regional Centers that support multi-state regional cooperatives; and
  3. “Tier 1 Centers” which are focused on specific fields of inquiry. UTC grants create a financial footing for schools to retain faculty, staff and facilities—assets that in turn make the institution competitive for other grants from federal, state, and philanthropic sources.

There was a significant change to the roster of UTCs since the last competition in 2013. Only 14 universities retained their lead institution status, while 21 schools lost theirs (one school closed permanently).campanile-1014213_1280

Some notable, longstanding centers lost their lead institution status, including: the University of South Florida, Rutgers University, University of California-Berkeley, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, among others. Losing lead UTC designation doesn’t mean those centers will close.

Other sources of funding—including being a sub-recipient of federal grants—may allow these centers to keep their doors open. However, these institutions face a very different funding reality.

Two interesting features of the 2016 awards are a strong representation by Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and the introduction of community colleges to the program.

Two HBCUs (North Carolina A&T and Morgan State University) were awarded lead institution status, and 10 others will participate as consortium members.

And, for the first time, eight community colleges are participating in UTC consortia. Since research is not a focus for community colleges, these institutions will be tasked with technology transfer, workforce development, and front line worker education.

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UTCs were relatively stable from 1987 through 2009, but have been in a state of upheaval ever since. UTCs were created in 1987 by the Surface Transportation and Uniform Relocation Assistance Act, and continued by each subsequent transportation authorization.

Each reauthorization bill has required a new competition for UTC grants, resulting in four competitions in the 22 years from 1987 to 2009. Due to the short duration of recent authorizing bills, the past six years alone have seen four competitions: two of SAFETEA-LU’s extensions (2010, 2012), MAP-21 (2013) and FAST (2016).

The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research (formerly the Research and Innovative Technology Administration) has treated each competition independently and appears to give little preference to existing centers.

The FAST Act promises to provide more stability, since the current set of grant winners will remain unchanged until at least the expiration of the bill in 2020.

University Transportation Center Awards: 2013 and 2016

Blue = Historically Black College or University

Green = Community College

2013: HBCUs were awarded 12 sub grants to nine different universities.

2016: HBCUs were awarded 14 grants to 12 different universities. Two of these grants were lead grants and 12 were sub grants. The two lead grant winners (Morgan State University and North Carolina A&T State University) lost the sub grants they were awarded in 2013.

Eight community colleges won sub grants in 2016.

 2013 University Transportation Centers 2016 University Transportation Centers
National UTCs: $2,828,200 per center
  • University of Maryland
    • Arizona State University
    • Morgan State University
    • North Carolina State University
    • Old Dominion University
    • University of New Orleans
  • University of California, Davis
    • Georgia Institute of Technology
    • University of California, Riverside
    • University of Southern California
    • University of Vermont
  • Portland State University
    • Oregon Institute of Technology
    • University of Oregon
    • University of South Florida
    • University of Utah
  • Carnegie Mellon University
    • University of Pennsylvania
  • Rutgers University
    • Columbia University
    • New Jersey Institute of Technology
    • Princeton University
    • University of Delaware
    • University of South Florida
    • University of Texas, El Paso
    • Utah State University
    • Virginia Tech

Regional UTCs: $2,592,500 per center

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    • Harvard University
    • University of Connecticut
    • University of Maine
    • University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • City University of New York
    • Clarkson University
    • The College of New Jersey
    • Columbia University
    • Cornell University
    • Hofstra University
    • Manhattan College
    • New Jersey Institute of Technology
    • New York Institute of Technology
    • New York University
    • Polytechnic Institute of NYU
    • Rensselear Polytechnic Institute
    • Rochester Institute of Technology
    • Rowan University
    • State University of New York, Albany
    • Stevens Institute of Technology
    • Syracuse University
    • University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez
  • University of Virginia
    • University of Delaware
    • Marshall University
    • Morgan State University
    • Old Dominion University
    • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • University of Tennessee
    • Clemson University (South Carolina)
    • North Carolina A&T State University
    • University of Alabama, Birmingham
    • University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa
    • University of Central Florida
    • University of Kentucky
    • University of North Carolina
    • University of South Florida
  • University of Minnesota
    • Southern Illinois University
    • University of Akron (Ohio)
    • University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
    • Western Michigan University
  • University of Oklahoma
    • Langston University (Oklahoma)
    • Louisiana Tech University
    • Oklahoma State University
    • Texas Tech University
    • University of Arkansas
    • University of New Mexico
    • University of Texas, El Paso
  • Iowa State University
    • Creighton University (Nebraska)
    • Harris-Stowe State University (Missouri)
    • University of Missouri, Columbia
    • University of Missouri, St. Louis
    • Wichita State University (Kansas)
  • North Dakota State University
    • Colorado State University
    • South Dakota State University
    • University of Colorado, Denver
    • University of Denver (Colorado)
    • University of Utah
    • University of Wyoming
    • Utah State University
  • University of California, Berkeley
    • California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
    • University of California, Irvine
    • University of California, Los Angeles
    • University of California, Riverside
    • University of California, Santa Barbara
  • University of Washington
    • Oregon State University
    • University of Alaska
    • University of Idaho
    • Washington State University

Tier 1 UTCs: $1,414,100 per center

  • University of Buffalo, SUNY
    • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (New York)
    • George Mason University (Virginia)
    • University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez
  • University of Arkansas
    • Jackson State University (Mississippi)
    • Louisiana State University
    • University of New Orleans (Louisiana)
  • University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
    • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    • Michigan Technological University
    • Rose-Hulman institute of Technology (Indiana)
    • University of Illinois, Chicago
    • University of Kentucky
    • University of Tennessee
  • University of Southern California
    • California State University, Long Beach
  • University of Texas, Austin
  • Maine Maritime Academy
    • University of Maine
  • University of Alaska, Fairbanks
    • Montana State University
    • Washington State University
  • University of Central Florida
    • Tuskegee University
    • University of Hawaii, Honolulu
  • Montana State University
    • North Dakota State University
  • University of South Florida
    • Florida International University
    • Texas A&M University
    • University of Illinois, Chicago
  • Western Michigan University
    • Tennessee State University
    • University of Texas, Arlington
    • Utah State University
    • Wayne State University, (Michigan)
  • Florida State University
    • Florida A&M University
    • University of North Florida
  • Ohio State University
    • Indiana University-Purdue University
    • North Carolina A&T State University
    • University of Massachusetts, Amherst
    • University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • University of Iowa
    • University of Central Florida
    • University of Massachusetts, Amherst
    • University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez
    • University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • University of Michigan
    • Texas A&M University
  • University of Nevada, Reno
    • Arizona State University
    • University of Nevada, Las Vegas
    • University of New Mexico
  • University of Texas, Pan American/Rio Grande
    • Texas A&M University
    • University of Nebraska, Lincoln
  • Florida International University
    • Iowa State University
    • University of Nevada, Reno
  • Michigan State University
    • North Carolina A&T State University
    • University of Hawaii
    • University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
    • University of Minnesota
    • University of Texas, Austin
  • Missouri University of Science and Technology
    • Rutgers University
    • Southern University
    • University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
    • University of Miami (Florida)
National UTCs: $2,804,300 per center
  • Portland State University
    • Oregon Institute of Technology
    • University of Oregon
    • University of Arizona
    • University of Texas, Arlington
    • University of Utah
  • Carnegie Mellon University
    • University of Pennsylvania
    • Ohio State University
    • Community College of Allegheny County
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    • Duke University
    • Florida Atlantic University
    • University of California at Berkeley
    • University of Tennessee at Knoxville
  • Virginia Tech (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University)
    • Texas A&M Transportation Institute
    • San Diego State University
  • University of California, Davis
    • Georgia Institute of Technology
    • University of Southern California
    • California State University, Long Beach
    • University of Vermont
    • University of California, Riverside

Regional UTCs: $2,570,600 per center

  • University of Florida
    • Auburn University
    • The Citadel
    • Florida International University
    • Georgia Institute of Technology
    • Jackson State University
    • North Carolina State University
    • Tennessee Technological University
    • University of Alabama at Birmingham
    • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • University of Michigan
    • Purdue University
    • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    • University of Akron
    • Central State University, Wilberforce, OH
    • Washtenaw Community College
  • Louisiana State University
    • University of Texas at Arlington
    • University of Texas at San Antonio
    • Texas A&M University
    • Prairie View A&M University
    • University of New Mexico
    • New Mexico State University
    • Arkansas State University
    • Baton Rouge Community College
    • Navajo Technical University
    • Oklahoma State University
  • University of Nebraska – Lincoln
    • University of Nebraska Medical Center
    • University of Nebraska – Omaha
    • Missouri University of Science and Technology
    • University of Iowa
    • University of Kansas
    • Lincoln University
    • Nebraska Indian Community College
  • North Dakota State University
    • Colorado State University
    • South Dakota State University
    • University of Colorado – Denver
    • University of Denver
    • University of Utah
    • University of Wyoming
    • Utah State University
  • University of Southern California
    • California State University, Long Beach
    • University of California, Davis
    • University of California, Irvine
    • University of California, Los Angeles
    • University of Hawaii at Manoa
    • Northern Arizona University
    • Pima Community College
  • University of Washington
    • Boise State University
    • Gonzaga University
    • Oregon State University
    • University of Alaska
    • University of Idaho
    • Washington State University

Tier 1 UTCs – $1,402,200 per center

  • Morgan State University
    • University of Maryland
    • Virginia Tech (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University)
  • Montana State University
    • North Dakota State University
    • Eastern Washington University
  • New York University
    • University of Washington, Seattle
    • The City College of New York
    • Rutgers University
    • University of Texas, El Paso
  • Arizona State University
    • Georgia Institute of Technology
    • University of Washington, Seattle
    • University of South Florida
  • Florida Atlantic University
    • University of Florida
    • University of Minnesota Twin Cities
    • Portland State University
    • Hampton University
    • University of Memphis
    • Texas A&M University
  • University of Texas, Austin
    • Texas Southern University
    • Louisiana State University
    • University of Pennsylvania
  • Clemson University
    • University of South Carolina
    • South Carolina State University
    • The Citadel
    • Benedict College
  • University of North Carolina, Charlotte
    • University of Texas, Austin
    • University of Connecticut
    • Washington State University
    • Texas Southern University
  • North Carolina A&T State University
    • Virginia Tech Transportation Institute
    • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach
    • University of the District of Columbia Community College
  • San Jose State University
    • Howard University
    • Navajo Technical University
    • University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • University of Alaska, Fairbanks
    • University of Hawaii at Manoa
    • University of Idaho
    • University of Washington
  • University of Iowa
    • University of Central Florida
    • University of Massachusetts, Amherst
    • University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez
    • University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Colorado School of Mines
    • California State University, Los Angeles
    • Lehigh University
  • University of Nevada, Las Vegas
    • Virginia Tech (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University)
    • University of Delaware
  • Florida International University
    • Iowa State University
    • University of Nevada, Reno
    • University of Washington
    • University of Oklahoma
  • Cornell University
    • University of California, Davis
    • University of Texas, El Paso
    • University of South Florida
  • Texas A&M University
    • Georgia Institute of Technology
    • Johns Hopkins University
    • University of Texas at El Paso
    • University of California, Riverside
  • University of Arkansas
    • Jackson State University
    • Louisiana State University
    • Texas A&M University
    • University of New Orleans
    • Vanderbilt University
  • University of Texas, Arlington
    • California Polytechnic Institute
    • Georgia Institute of Technology
    • University of Wisconsin, Madison
    • University of South Florida
  • Missouri University of Science and Technology
    • City College of New York
    • East Central College, Union, MO
    • Georgia Institute of Technology
    • Lincoln University
    • Ozarks Technical Community College
    • Louis Community College
    • University of Colorado at Boulder
    • University of Nevada, Las Vegas
    • University of Nevada, Reno
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