Dec 10, 2012

Johns Hopkins Remains on Top for R&D Spending

Johns Hopkins University

With more than $2.1 billion in research expenditures for fiscal year 2011, Johns Hopkins University once again tops the list of research universities and colleges in an annual survey of more than 900 institutions conducted by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

And rising three places to No. 41, Virginia Tech remains the top university in Virginia for funds spent on science, engineering, and “other scholarly activity," and the only Virginia institution in the top 50.

"… Virginia Tech scientists and engineers are engaged with important public issues associated with energy, sustainability, new technology, and health,” said Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger.  “These research expenditures position us to answer national challenges, to create knowledge and innovative technologies, and to energize commerce. It is an essential part of our mission as a public, land-grant university."

The FY 2011 statistics are compiled from the NSF’s Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) Survey, the primary government source of information on research and development expenditures.

According to the NSF, university spending on research and development in all fields increased a healthy 6.3 percent between FY 2010 and FY 2011, from $61.2 billion to $65.1 billion.  When adjusted for inflation, that means higher education R&D rose by 4.3 percent in FY 2011.

Among ten broad fields studied, life sciences accounted for largest share by far ($37.2 billion) with engineering the next largest ($10 billion) in reported research and development expenditures.  In fact, all the fields saw an increase in reported expenditures including social sciences, which nearly returned to its FY 2009 total after a decline in FY 2010.

This year, the HERD Survey also took a look at the amount of R&D spending that occurred within an institution’s medical school.  Of the $65.1 billion total, $23.1 billion was spent on medical schools, with Duke University ($831 million) topping the list, followed by UC San Francisco ($785 million) and Johns Hopkins ($646 million).

And why is all this important to college applicants? 

Because high-profile research universities, many of which are members of Association of American Universities, provide significant benefits for undergrads on the fast-track to professional or graduate school programs. 

If you’re considering spending the next four years at a research university and want to know where the money is (which supports labs, attracts professors, and opens opportunities), here is a list of institutions reporting the largest FY 2011 R&D expenditures in all fields:

  1. Johns Hopkins University
  2. University of Michigan—Ann Arbor
  3. University of Washington
  4. University of Wisconsin—Madison
  5. Duke
  6. UC San Diego
  7. UC San Francisco
  8. UCLA
  9. Stanford University
  10. University of Pittsburgh
  11. University of Pennsylvania 
  12. Columbia University
  13. University of Minnesota—Twin Cities
  14. Ohio State University
  15. Pennsylvania State University
  16. Cornell University
  17. University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill
  18. University of Florida
  19. Washington University St. Louis
  20. MIT
  21. UC Berkeley
  22. UC Davis
  23. Texas A & M
  24. University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
  25. Yale University
  26. Georgia Tech
  27. Harvard University
  28. University of Texas—Austin
  29. Northwestern University
  30. University of Arizona

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