Kentucky: Council on Postsecondary Education

Council on Postsecondary Education
Kentucky’s ‘Bucks for Brains’ endowment match program wins national economic development award

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, November 08, 2011  
Contact Information:  Sue Patrick
Cell: 502-330-6596

A national economic development nonprofit has selected Kentucky’s Bucks for Brains endowment match program as one of six national models for states and regions to grow their economies and create high-paying jobs through investments in science, technology and innovation.

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.

University of Kentucky Provost Kumble Subbaswamy accepted the award on behalf of Kentucky at an awards ceremony held earlier today in Columbus, Ohio.

The endowment match program matches state dollars with private donations to encourage research at the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville, and to strengthen key programs at Kentucky’s comprehensive universities.

The primary goals of the program 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.

“We are very grateful that Kentucky’s legislators and former Governor Paul Patton created this program as a strategic component of higher education reform, and that the success of this program is now being recognized on a national stage. The impact has been far-reaching and has yielded new knowledge and research that has led to new products, businesses and jobs,” said Council on Postsecondary Education President Bob King.

The program has attracted faculty with significant records of externally funded research to Kentucky. Between 1997 and 2010, the number of endowed chairs at Kentucky public universities increased from 56 to 252 and the number of endowed professorships increased from 53 to 354. Over that same period, extramural research and development expenditures generated by UK and UofL faculty and staff increased from $105.2 million to $364.8 million, or 247 percent.

University of Louisville President James Ramsey said, “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.

“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 added.

“This is wonderful recognition for the Bucks for Brains program; a shining emblem of our state’s commitment to innovative research and our world-class faculty’s resolve for creative discovery that challenges conventional thought,” said University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto. “The Bucks for Brains program has expanded UK’s human capital and physical infrastructure to continue the work we do in improving the lives of countless Kentuckians.”

The program encourages private giving by enabling donors to double the value of their contributions to public universities by having those contributions matched dollar-for-dollar by the state. It also provides a means for the state to target that giving toward new economy disciplines and research activities of strategic economic benefit to Kentucky.

"Bucks for Brains is achieving impressive results having significantly increased federally funded R&D and extramural R&D over the past 13 years. At the state’s top two research institutions, federally funded R&D grew by an outstanding 250 percent and extramural R&D increased by a remarkable 247 percent between 1997 and 2010," said Dan Berglund, SSTI president and CEO. "A sustained commitment by multiple administrations has been one of the keys to the program's effectiveness."

Former Governor Paul Patton and the General Assembly played a critical role in the creation of Bucks for Brains by enacting House Bill 1 in 1997, which provided a statutory basis for the program, and by appropriating $110 million to the program in the 1998 Budget Bill. In total, the General Assembly has appropriated $410 million to the program. This amount includes $350 million to the state’s two research universities, and $60 million to the state’s six comprehensive institutions.

The state’s $410 million investment leveraged an additional $410 million in private contributions through the dollar-for-dollar matching feature. When 2008-10 pledges are fully paid, the program will have generated a total of $820 million, with $767.9 million added to public university endowments and $52.1 million used to support construction of new research facilities, including $43.8 million at the University of Kentucky and $8.3 million for education and general facilities at the comprehensive universities.


We believe in the transformative power of postsecondary education. Stronger by Degrees, the new strategic agenda for Kentucky’s colleges and universities and adult basic education, is powering a stronger Kentucky economy and improving the lives of Kentuckians. To learn more about Stronger by Degrees, visit Follow us on Twitter!/CPENews.


Last Updated 11/8/2011