Website Breaks Down Statewide Benefit of UConn Research Funding

State residents interested in seeing how UConn research dollars benefit local communities can now find that information quickly and easily through a new website.
State residents interested in seeing how UConn research dollars benefit local communities can now find that information quickly and easily through a new website.

Connecticut residents interested in seeing how UConn research dollars benefit local communities can now find that information quickly and easily through a new website called granttrails.

The interactive website allows users to see how much UConn research benefited a particular town simply by clicking a location on a state map, typing in the town’s name, or using a zip code.

Alternatively, visitors can zoom out for a broader statewide view, where the impact of UConn research is shown in small-to-large blue circles, their size being based on how much grant money was spent in a particular location.

Users can filter results to show the total research expenditure amount for a given town or they can isolate the funding by source such as federal, state, or corporate grants. The data reflects where grant dollars received by UConn faculty were spent within Connecticut between fiscal years 2014 and 2017.

“This website helps people see how UConn’s research grant expenditures help support local economies in ways that often get overlooked,” says Daniel Schwartz, director of UConn’s Center for Open Research Resources & Equipment or COR²E, which developed the website.

Millions of dollars in grant money received at UConn and UConn Health are used each year to pay for equipment, reagents, consumables, salaries, etc. that are critical to any research project moving forward. Many of the companies from which those purchases are made are located in Connecticut. UConn graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and technicians involved in University research also tend to live near the institutions in which they work, providing an additional benefit.

UConn junior Brandon Cheng spent several months over the past summer building the granttrails website, which is based on data gleaned from the University’s electronic financial records. Cheng is the lead developer for UConn Squared Labs, a group of top undergraduate student web developers overseen by Schwartz. Squared Labs builds websites that support UConn’s research infrastructure.