Virginia Tech ranked 46th out of 679 universities, according to the just released 2008 National Science Foundation (NSF) ranking, which is based on research expenditures reported for the year ending June 30, 2008.

Virginia Tech ranked 42nd with $ $366.9 million in 2007. The university reported $373.3 million in expenditures for fiscal year 2008, which ended June 30, an increase of less than $7 million. Rankings lag a year behind reported expenditures; the 2009 ranking will be based on data from the fiscal year that ended June 30. That information will not be available until fall of 2010.

"While our overall growth was below our goals, the areas that account for competitive research awards continued to grow," said Robert Walters, vice president for research. "We increased our external federal funding by more than 5 percent and our industry funding by almost 20 percent. In the current economy, those numbers are encouraging. That’s a testament to the dedication of the Virginia Tech faculty."

Federal funding grew in 2008 from $128.8 million to $135.6 million and industry funding grew from $17 million to $20.4 million. The only decline was in the funding from the Commonwealth Research Initiative, from $19 million in 2007 to $7.7 million in 2008. Due to budget shortfalls at the state level, the program was phased back significantly after having helped to launch several research initiatives, such as infectious disease and nanotechnology research.

Roderick Hall, associate vice president for research at Virginia Tech, said, "While we won't know until the end of the calendar year what our 2009 report to the NSF will be , we do know that the driving component of the total -- externally sponsored research -- was up more than 5 percent from 2008."

He pointed out, "There is only about a $50 million annual difference between the 40th ranked program and the 50th.That's why we are focusing much more heavily on our own growth rates compared to our rank. We feel good about the direction in which we're moving," Hall said.

NSF is the federal agency charged by Congress to report annually on academic research in the United States. While NSF is also a funding agency, the expenditures in its report represent all academic research regardless of the sponsor.

Select rankings:

The top research institute in the country is Johns Hopkins at $1.68 billion, which includes expenditures from the Applied Physics Laboratory. APL is a center for engineering, research, and development, which itself employs 4,300 people working on some 400 projects with annual funding of $800 million.

After Johns Hopkins, the rest of the next five schools all have between $800 million and $900 million in annual funding.

Johns Hopkins, $1,680.927 million
University of California, San Francisco, $885.182 million
University of Wisconsin, Madison, $881.777 million
University of Michigan, all campuses, $876.390 million
University of California, Los Angeles, $$871.478
University of California, San Diego, $842.027 million

Less than $50 million separates 40th and 50th ranked universities.

40 University of Alabama at Birmingham, $404.615 million
41 University of Maryland, College Park, $395.037 million
42 Louisiana State University, all campuses, $391.234 million
43 University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, $390.349 million
44 University of Maryland, Baltimore, $379.407 million
45 University of Rochester, $375.218 million
46 Virginia Tech, $373.281 million
47 North Carolina State University, $366.137 million
48 Scripps Research Institute, $377.047 million
49 University of Chicago, $357.278 million
50 Michigan State University, $356.7.7 million

Other Virginia universities in the top 200:

70 University of Virginia, all campuses $257.651 million
108 Virginia Commonwealth University $148.655 million
151 George Mason University, $72.542 million
156 Old Dominion University, $66.538 million
169 College of William and Mary $55.090 million

The NSF Info Brief for the fiscal year 2008 Academic Research and Development Expenditures Survey has just been posted online. The detailed statistical tables are not yet available on the website.


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