University of Michigan ranks 1st in U.S. for research spending

Posted on April 3, 2012

For the second straight year, the University of Michigan‘s Ann Arbor campus ranks first in research and development spending among the nation’s public universities and colleges, according to U-M officials.

U-M Ann Arbor managed to hold onto its first-place ranking among public institutions, spending $1.18 billion on research and development in 2010. When the Dearborn and Flint campuses are added, the total for the year was $1.19 billion.

The ranking is compiled from the latest numbers released by the U.S. National Science Foundation.

U-M atop the R&D expenditures list for public universities and behind only Johns Hopkins University on the list of all U.S. universities and colleges. The latest NSF rankings cover fiscal year 2010.

R&D spending at U-M increased 18.3 percent between fiscal years 2009 and 2010, up from 14.9 percent growth the previous fiscal year. For comparison, Johns Hopkins’ research spending grew 8 percent between 2009 and 2010, while the third-ranked university, University of Wisconsin-Madison, grew 8.6 percent.

“Our continuing success in expanding our research enterprise is a direct measure of the exceptional energy and creativity of our faculty,” says Stephen Forrest, vice president of research, in a news release.

“This is central to our mission as a public university because the excellence of our scholarship not only deeply informs the educational process for our students, but it also fuels the spirit of inquiry, innovation, and entrepreneurship that drives both the regional and national economies,” Forrest says.

From the release:

NSF revised its reporting procedures for FY 2010 to require research-spending data from “each geographically separate institution campus headed by a president or chancellor.” That means U-M campuses in Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint were listed separately for the first time, instead of the former designation “University of Michigan all campuses.”

Last September U-M announced that it spent $1.24 billion in fiscal year 2011, which ended June 30, 2011. The FY2011 numbers will be included in the next NSF annual report on R&D spending.

In fiscal year 2010, federal funds accounted for 58 percent of the research spending at the U-M’s Ann Arbor campus. As usual, funding from the Department of Health and Human Services, which includes the National Institutes of Health, provided the largest chunk of the federal funds, accounting for 41 percent of the total with $530.8 million.

Expenditures of funds from the National Science Foundation totaled $66.9 million, followed by the Department of Defense with $63.7 million and the Department of Energy at $27.1 million.

NSF’s R&D spending total and U-M’s internal research-spending reports don’t always match because the two entities use different reporting standards.

Download an Excel file showing R&D expenditures at all US universities and colleges

Download an Excel file showing higher ed R&D expenditures by federal agency

By Paula Gardner,