UA Ranked in Top 25 for Research Funding

The UA's strengths in physical sciences and NASA funding make it one of the top research universities in the country, according to the Higher Education Research and Development survey recently released by the NSF.

By:
Lucio Guerrero, UA Research
Christopher Walker's team successfully launched the Stratospheric Terahertz Observatory, which served as a pathfinder mission for GUSTO, in December 2016.

With $622 million in research activity in fiscal year 2017, the University of Arizona ranked as one of the top 25 largest research universities among all public institutions, according to data released Tuesday by the National Science Foundation.

The NSF's Higher Education Research and Development survey ranks more than 900 colleges and universities based on their research and development expenditures. It is viewed as the primary source of information on R&D expenditures at U.S. colleges and universities.

In the latest survey, the UA ranks 23rd among all public universities – the highest among Arizona institutions – and 38th among all U.S. universities, both public and private.

The UA's $622 million in R&D expenditures in fiscal year 2017 surpassed the previous year's total by nearly $20 million and put the UA among the top 5 percent of all universities nationwide.

"University of Arizona researchers have had great success over the past year, both in their efforts to attract funding for their work and in the impact that they have in Arizona and globally," said UA President Robert C. Robbins. "UA research is the foundation of our transformational student experience, and I am proud of this result, particularly our standing among Hispanic-Serving Institutions. This ranking is great recognition for the quality and promise of UA research, and I am also eager for the continued strides we will make towards our goals."

The HERD survey also found that the UA is the second largest research university nationwide among schools with high Hispanic enrollment. The university earned the designation of Hispanic-Serving Institution from the U.S. Department of Education for its success in the enrollment of Hispanic students and in providing educational opportunities to them.

The survey also showed that the UA was No. 5 in NASA funding among all universities (up from No. 8 in 2016) and No. 6 in physical sciences R&D expenditures nationwide. UA remained No. 1 among all universities in astronomy and astrophysics R&D.

"UA research is always on the move. Our researchers continue to drive us forward through innovative solutions, meaningful collaborations and impactful discoveries," said Kimberly Ogden, interim vice president for research at the UA. "The quality of our research is recognized around the world and it's because of the dedication and quality of our staff and faculty."

Some of the UA research that made headlines and had significant impact in fiscal year 2017 included:

  • The UA Cancer Center was recognized for its multidisciplinary cancer research and research-driven clinical care through a highly competitive grant award from the National Cancer Institute. The NCI renewed the center's status as a Comprehensive Cancer Center and awarded a five-year, $17.6 million Cancer Center Support Grant, based on the strength, depth and breadth of basic laboratory, clinical, prevention, control and population-based research.
  • NASA selected to fund the UA-led GUSTO mission, a $40 million endeavor is to send a balloon to near-space carrying a telescope that will study the interstellar medium – the gas and dust between the stars, from which all stars and planets originate.
  • The UA is part of a multicampus program awarded a five-year U.S. Department of Transportation grant expected to be worth up to $15.6 million to help transform research, education and outreach related to the nation's pressing transportation issues.