U increases spending on research

The University consistently raises its research spending each year.


The University of Minnesota five-campus system climbed one ranking spot in spending on science and engineering research and development among universities nationwide.

The University ranks 10th this year. It is the fourth consecutive year the University has moved up in the rankings.

In 2009, the total spent on research and development was $741 million. A large fraction of these funds was from the National Science Foundation, according to associate dean for research and planning at the College of Science and Engineering, Mos Kaveh.

In 2007, the University spent $624 million in research and development, a figure that has increased by an average of 8.2 percent every year.

The University also ranks eighth among public institutions in R&D spending, according to a NSF survey. Four other Big Ten schools are in the top 20.

Kaveh attributes this boost to an increase in proposal submissions by University faculty.

“Very often these things tend to be bottom-up,” Kaveh said. “It is really the hard work of the faculty and their students that made this happen âÄî it is not anyone at the administrative level telling them to do it.”

In the 2009 fiscal year, CSE submitted approximately 1,000 research proposals. This fiscal year, approximately 900 proposals have been submitted. In the past six years, CSE has hovered around 800 submitted proposals a year.

“The faculty has always been diligent and entrusted in increasing their research output,” Kaveh said. “That is nothing new.”

Kaveh also points to recent hires that have contributed to the number of proposal submissions, as well as collaborations between different disciplines across the University that have led to the schoolâÄôs success.

John Merritt, spokesman for the UniversityâÄôs Office of the Vice President for Research, also attributes this increase in research spending to the quality of faculty and their research.

Especially over the past year, he said, there has been an increase in funding from external sources other than the NSF, including corporate and nonprofit endowments.

Revenue from patents the University holds also brought in some money, Merritt said, but most of the profits were used to invest in infrastructure for research.

Outside of CSE, Merritt says the UniversityâÄôs Medical School and the School of Public Health receive the most funding.

Marvin Marshak, director of the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, also known as UROP, has seen his budget for undergraduate research proposals grow in the past decade.

Funded by the University, UROPâÄôs budget is currently around $1 million a year; UROP also received $150,000 in one-time money from the federal stimulus package.

Marshak has seen a shift from liberal arts to science majors in the past three years. He attributes this to the recent economic crisis that has students looking for careers with better job security. This, in turn, leads to more students submitting research proposals to UROP, especially in the life sciences.

Kaveh said thereâÄôs been an increased emphasis in science collaboration across many disciplines.

“Because of this, you will find that there are more funding resources that really respond to that,” he said.