UNC Moves Into Top 10 in Federal Research Funds

UNC rose to ninth from 16th among leading private and public research universities for the level of federal funding — $545.99 million — devoted to research and development in all fields during fiscal 2010.

Overall, Carolina ranked 15th for research and development expenditures ($755.28 million) from all sources in fiscal 2010.

The new ranking, based on data compiled by the National Science Foundation, was published by The Chronicle of Higher Education. The federal government financed 61 percent of the $61.2 billion that universities dedicated to research and development in fiscal 2010, The Chronicle reported.

Among national public universities, Carolina ranked fourth in federal R&D spending behind the universities of Washington (second overall at nearly $830 million), Michigan at Ann Arbor (third overall at about $748 million), and California at San Diego (seventh overall at $580 million). The University of Wisconsin at Madison rounded out the top 10 at $545.18 million.

Private universities in the top 10 were Johns Hopkins (first, $1.7 billion), University of Pennsylvania (fourth, $642 million), University of Pittsburgh, main campus, (fifth, $594 million; some observers, including U.S. News & World Report and a father of a UNC student who responded to this article — see comments — regard Pitt as a public university or as a “state-related” university), Stanford University (sixth, $593 million) and Columbia University (eighth, $572 million). Johns Hopkins’ total included a $1.01 billion award for an applied physics laboratory. Duke was the only other N.C. university in the top 25, placing 13th at $514.08 million.

“Cracking the top 10 for federal R&D spending shows powerful, positive momentum,” said Chancellor Holden Thorp ’86. “We’ve gained 10 spots in the national top 25 list since 2008. That’s a great tribute to the creativity and productivity of our faculty, who have been remarkably successful in attracting research funding despite the economic downturn.”

UNC faculty are part of an internationally recognized multidisciplinary research enterprise that draws from five health sciences schools (dentistry, medicine, nursing, pharmacy and public health), UNC Health Care and its teaching hospitals, as well as basic and social science units in the College of Arts and Sciences.

In fiscal 2012, the University secured about $767 million in total research funding from all sources. Excluding federal stimulus support, research funding totaled $759 million in that category, compared with $732 million last year.

In fiscal 2011, UNC faculty attracted $788 million in total research support. Of that, 73 percent came from the federal government. Of the $575 million in total federal funding, the National Institutes of Health accounted for 69 percent.

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