Ranking first in research spending among public universities for seven consecutive years, the University of Michigan’s research continues to grow and diversify. With programs in engineering, medical research, data science and the humanities, the University spent $1.39 billion in research development in 2016—a record amount. This 7.2 percent increase from last year is the second highest in the nation, following Johns Hopkins University.  Most of the year’s growth came from a $467 million increase in expenditures from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Approximately two thirds of spending is facilitated by federal agencies. Since 2011, federal funding for research has decreased by 11 percent. Despite these decreases, the number of University research contracts increased by 3.6 percent, with the dollar amount of each contract rising by about 14.8 percent. 

Jack Hu, vice president for research, is confident the University will be able to hold on to these funds for years to come.

“I think we are very competitive,” Hu said at the Board of Regents meeting on Feb. 16, according to MLive. “We are very good in securing grants from all agencies of the government. Federal funding is still very dominant, in terms of the source in funding for our research. Over the last two to three years, we average about 57 percent of the total in terms of federal support for research, so it is a very important source of research funding.” 

Hu said the University needs to be cognizant of potential changes in federal funding due to the new presidential administration. However, not all University funding comes from the federal government; funding from the University increased by 7.86 percent between fiscal years 2015 and 2016 and $317 million out of the total $456 million increase came either from the University’s general fund or from medical school resources.

In a recent interview, Hu also said diversification of sources is necessary to continue to develop research.

“The goal is to diversify sources of research funding and continue to expand our partnerships with industry,” Hu said. 

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