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ASU makes top 20 list in research expenditures


September 15, 2008

ASU is among the top 20 leading universities without a medical school in research expenditures, according to the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF).

With total research expenditures of $224 million in fiscal year 2007, ASU ranked 19th among universities without a medical school, according to the annual “NSF Survey of Research and Development Expenditures at Universities and Colleges.”

This marks the first time that ASU has been ranked in the top 20 and represents a remarkable growth in its research enterprise.

“These numbers clearly show the dramatic growth we have made in the past several years in ASU’s research enterprise,” says R.F. “Rick” Shangraw Jr., ASU’s vice president for research and economic affairs. “This is a reflection of our researchers’ focus on interdisciplinary science and their determination to tackle important societal issues. Even more importantly, it demonstrates ASU faculty commitment to discovery.”

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology ($614 million) topped the list of universities without M.D. degree-granting medical schools. MIT was followed by the University of California-Berkeley ($552 million) and Texas A&M University ($544 million).

For the complete list, visit the Web site www.nsf.gov/statistics/infbrief/nsf08320/?govDel=USNSF_178.

ASU’s research capacity has grown significantly in the past several years. Fiscal year 2006 was the first time research expenditures at ASU topped the $200 million level, and it marked a doubling of research expenditures in a period of six years, according to Stephen Goodnick, ASU’s associate vice president of research.

It is even more remarkable when ASU’s growth in research expenditures is juxtaposed to the overall flat research funding to universities as a whole. The NSF report states that, overall, federal funding of academic science and engineering research and development in fiscal year 2007 failed to outpace inflation for the second year in a row.

In current dollars, federally funded academic research and development expenditures rose 1.1 percent in fiscal year 2007 to $30.4 billion. After adjusting for inflation, this represents a 1.6 percent decline from fiscal year 2006, and follows a 0.2 percent decline compared to the fiscal year 2005 numbers.

Funding from non-federal sources grew by 7.8 percent (5 percent in inflation adjusted terms) in fiscal year 2007, according to NSF officials. Federal and non-federal sources combined equaled $49.4 billion, 3.5 percent more than fiscal year 2006 (a 0.8 percent increase after inflation).

Medical sciences ($16.5 billion) and biological sciences ($9.2 billion) account for more than half of all research and development expenditures to universities and colleges, the NSF report says. When adding in universities with M.D. granting medical schools, MIT ranks 15th overall and the University of California-Berkeley ranks 20th.

The top universities overall are Johns Hopkins University, the University of California-San Francisco and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The federal government is the largest source of academic research and development funding, accounting for more than 60 percent of total research and development expenditures in most years since fiscal year 1972, though its share has dropped from 64 percent in fiscal year 2005 to 62 percent in fiscal year 2007.