Virginia Tech ranked among top 10 universities in agricultural research

BLACKSBURG, Va., Oct. 29, 2007 – Virginia Tech's funding for research and development in the agricultural sciences jumped nearly $8.8 million in 2006, according to the most recent figures from the National Science Foundation (NSF). This raises Virginia Tech from the No. 11 to the No. 10 ranking for agricultural research expenditures in the country.

“We are very proud that Virginia Tech is now ranked tenth among all the colleges and universities in the country for agricultural research expenditures,” said Sharron Quisenberry, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “This ranking is a shared honor and a tribute to the hard work of our faculty, students, and staff who are dedicated to research excellence.”

The NSF reports that Virginia Tech expended nearly $76.8 million in agricultural research and development in 2006, up from the previous year’s figure of more than $68 million. This is an increase of 12.9 percent.

“Our college is committed to providing the very best basic and applied research to the stakeholders and citizens of the commonwealth,” said Craig Nessler, associate dean for research in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and director of the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station. “Quality research is expensive, and we are looking for creative ways to support our programs.”

Nationally, funding for agricultural research increased 5.2 percent to nearly $2.8 billion. The top institutions for agricultural research were the University of Florida and the University of California at Davis. The latter was the only institution in the top 10 to decline in agricultural research expenditures; all the others reported gains in funding. Universities in the top 10 reported a total gain in funding by more than 5.2 percent, in line with the national average.

The NSF defines agricultural sciences to include such disciplines as agricultural production, aquaculture, international agriculture, soil sciences, natural resources and conservation, animal science, agronomy, forestry, fish and wildlife, and horticulture. At Virginia Tech, this includes research in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Natural Resources.

Virginia Tech’s agricultural research and development program accounted for 23.9 percent of the research spending at the university in 2006. The university’s total research funding was more than $321.7 million, an increase of 10.9 percent from the previous year. According to the NSF rankings, Virginia Tech has the largest research program among colleges and universities in the commonwealth.

The institutions ahead of Virginia Tech in the NSF agricultural rankings are the University of Florida, University of California at Davis, Purdue University, University of Georgia, Michigan State University, Cornell University, Texas A & M University, Mississippi State University, and North Carolina State University.

Founded in 1872 as a land-grant college, Virginia Tech is the most comprehensive university in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Today, Virginia Tech’s eight colleges are dedicated to putting knowledge to work through teaching, research, and engagement activities and to fulfilling its vision to be among the top research universities in the nation. At its 2,600-acre main campus located in Blacksburg and other campus centers in Northern Virginia, Southwest Virginia, Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Roanoke, Virginia Tech enrolls more than 27,000 undergraduate and graduate students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries in 180 academic degree programs.