KU reaches record level in research expenditures

University rises to 44th in national rankings

Federally funded research in science and engineering at KU increased by $5 million in 2009, to a record $127.4 million. That figure ranked KU 44th in a key category among national public research universities, according to an annual survey released last week by the National Science Foundation.

In the survey, KU ranked higher than any other public university in Kansas or Missouri, and fifth among the 11 Big 12 public universities. The report ranks a total of 689 public and private universities nationwide. The largest public university on the list, Michigan, received $636 million for federally funded research in science and engineering, while the smallest, SUNY-Fredonia, received $9,000.

The survey also lists annual research spending since 2002. At KU, spending in this category has increased every year during that time, something only 11 of the top 44 universities can claim.

“KU more than holds its own among peer universities,” said Steve Warren, vice chancellor for research and graduate studies. KU ranked 44th in 2007, 45th in 2006 and 43rd in 2008. In 1996, KU ranked 55th.

“We have outstanding faculty at the Lawrence and medical center campuses who compete successfully for grants in all disciplines, not just science and engineering. The research that comes out of those grants has a positive influence on human health, education, energy and many other areas. That impact is harder to measure, but it matters much more than the dollars.”

Total KU sponsored projects spending from all sources of external grants and contracts exceeded $207 million in 2009. KU received 83 percent of its funding from a wide range of federal agencies. The three largest sources of federal research funding were the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Education and the National Science Foundation. An annual report of sponsored research expenditures is online at www.rgs.ku.edu/-downloads/annual_reports/fy2009.pdf.

“Our focus now is research engagement,” said Paul Terranova, vice chancellor for research at the KU Medical Center. “We are exploring ways on both campuses to encourage more faculty to increase their level of active scholarship. This can include research grants, but it also includes scholarly publications, creative performances and other activities that energize the faculty and enhance KU’s impact as a research university.”

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