Illustration of various scientific items making up the shape of a Block M.
Illustration by Abby Schreck

The University of Michigan’s total annual research expenditures for the fiscal year reached $1.86 billion in 2023, the highest amount recorded in the University’s history, according to the annual report released Monday. This year’s expenditures reflect an 8.1% increase compared to the 2022 fiscal year. 

Federal funding toward University research surpassed $1 billion in total for the first time, constituting 56% of the University’s total research expenditures for the fiscal year. Internally funded research accounted for over $603 million in expenditures for the fiscal year. In an email to The Michigan Daily, Rebecca Cunningham, vice president for research and innovation, said these figures reflect the University’s new Strategy to Amplify Research and Scholarship.

“The amplify strategy was designed to help bolster resources and personnel so that our faculty are positioned to advance and accelerate their research and creative practices for broad societal impact,” Cunningham said. “The (Office of the Vice President for Research) developed and implemented the first phase of the amplify strategy, and so over the past year, our team has worked diligently to support our faculty in their successful bid for large, external grants — the type that transform fields of study and support large teams of faculty and students to pursue big goals.”

The unit with the highest volume of funding was once again the Medical School, with over $806 million in research expenditures, a 6.89% increase from last year. The Medical School has comprised the biggest sum of expenditures for at least 20 years, according to previous annual reports. In an email to The Daily, Dr. Steven Kunkel, executive vice dean for research, said research at Michigan Medicine aims to advance science and improve the health and well-being of patients. 

“Our continued growth in funding last year is just one measure of how our faculty, staff, and learners are working every day, with collaborators across campus and around the globe, to ultimately help patients and their families,” Kunkel wrote. 

While the majority of schools within the University reported positive growth in research expenditures, the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning experienced a 9.66% decrease in funding compared to fiscal year 2022. According to Gabriel Harp, Taubman director of research and creative practice development, the decrease can be attributed to changes in the school’s faculty. 

“We recently completed several significant grant-funded programs led by senior faculty, some of whom retired,” Harp said. “Junior-level faculty who filled those positions are still building their research portfolios. Another thing is that the number of proposals submitted by Taubman College faculty has rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, and several proposals submitted in (the 2023 fiscal year) are still in review or were awarded after the fiscal year-end.”

According to the report, the University reached a record 580 new inventions and 145 new patents this year. The University also facilitated a record 25 startups, such as Decimal Code, a company that uses artificial intelligence to optimize repayment effectiveness and automate medical billing, and MDI Therapeutics, which aims to treat fibrosis and fibroproliferative disorders by developing serpin-based therapies.

University President Santa Ono expressed satisfaction with the amount of research reported in 2023 in a statement released last Wednesday.

“The University of Michigan was envisioned as America’s first true research university,” the statement read. “And I could not be more excited to see us strengthening and expanding our efforts, joining together with our funding partners and world-class students, staff and faculty to have a profound impact on the great challenges of our time.”

Daily Staff Reporter Nadia Taeckens can be reached at Daily News Contributor Violet Boyd contributed to the reporting of this article.