University tops National Science Foundation research volume ranking

Monday, November 26, 2018 - 7:23pm

University of Michigan expenditures on research reached a record high for the third year in a row in fiscal year 2018, and the school remained No. 1 in research volume across all public universities for the eighth year in a row, according to the National Science Foundation.

The report stated the volume of research at the University increased by 4.4 percent from fiscal year 2017 — from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018, the volume of research at the University totaled $1.55 billion.

The highest volume of research was at the Medical School, with $624.4 million dedicated to the school, followed by Engineering, LSA and the Institute of Social Research, all of which had research expenditures totaling greater than $100 million.

In a press release from Michigan News, University President Mark Schlissel said the No. 1 research volume ranking demonstrates how the University and its schools are deeply engaged with the world off campus.

“The continued growth of the research productivity of our faculty is important evidence of the amazing strength of the University of Michigan,” Schlissel said. “I am proud that U-M research spans the breadth of our outstanding university and addresses many of society’s most pressing questions and challenges.”

The federal investment in the University totaled $852 million last year, covering 55 percent of the University’s total volume of research over the last year. Federal investment encourages research at the University that supports public health, national security and economic competitiveness. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which is consistently the greatest external sponsor of research at the University, granted $579 million to the University in fiscal year 2018. Internal research spending increased 8 percent from fiscal year 2017, totaling $524 million in fiscal year 2018. These trends are consistent with the 2018 budget signed by President Donald Trump in March, which approved the greatest increase in allocation to U.S. research in a decade. 

Industry expenditures also increased 9 percent, totaling a record high of $109 million in fiscal year 2018.

The increase in expenditures led to a tangible increase in research in fiscal year 2018. According to the report, there were a record breaking 484 new inventions last year, the number of startups almost doubled to 21, and the Office of Technology Transfer signed 218 license and option agreements with companies hoping to commercialize these discoveries made at the University.

S. Jack Hu, University vice president for research, said the financial support allowed the University to produce a large amount of valuable research under the vision Research to Serve the World.

“As credit to our innovative campus community and strong external collaboration, the University of Michigan has conducted the largest volume of research of any public university in the United States for eight consecutive years,” Hu said in the University release. “This type of support allows us to advance knowledge, solve challenging societal problems, create new products and services that enhance quality of life, and support students and postdoctoral fellows in research and training.”