Virginia Tech returns to top 50 in NSF ranking of universities based on research expenditures

BLACKSBURG, Va., April 14, 2003 – Virginia Tech ranked 49th out of 601 universities based on research expenditures of $216.3 million in 2001, according the National Science Foundation Division of Science Resources Statistics report issued today. Tech is 34th among public universities.

In fiscal year 2000, Virginia Tech reported total research and development expenditures of $192.6 million for the NSF survey of colleges and universities nationwide, but ranked 51st despite the 12th highest increase among the top 50 universities.

Expenditures include research sponsored by state and federal agencies, private foundations, and industry, as well as institutional investment in research, both direct and indirect. Institutional investment includes equipment and utilities, for example. Virginia Tech's fiscal year ends June 30, but it takes almost a full year for NSF rankings of the previous fiscal year's expenditures because of the number of institutions and differing accounting periods.

Virginia Tech President Charles Steger has challenged the university to achieve top 30 status by 2010. "Prospects for the university to achieve the top-30 goal remain good; our growth in FY 2001 met our expectations," he says. "Faculty members are excelling. We have a significant number of young faculty members who have received NSF Career awards."

Four faculty members last year and two so far this year received the awards, which are in the range of a half million dollars from NSF and are matched by significant investments from industry.

Research expenditures for fiscal year 2002 (the year ending June 30, 2002), which have already been reported to the NSF, are $232.6 million. In FY 2002 the campus received 2,330 awards totaling in excess of $157 million dollars. Support for these projects originates from an ever expanding base of sponsors. Today, there are nearly 1,000 sponsors funding more than 4,000 active projects. Researchers pursue new discoveries in agriculture, biotechnology, information and communication technology, transportation, energy management -- including leadership in fuel cell technology and power electronics, and a wide range of other engineering, scientific, and social science, creative, and scholarly fields.

And in the current fiscal year, which began July 1, 2002, research contracts and grants again show growth from the previous fiscal year. Awards don't translate directly into expenditures for the same year, since many are paid over several years.

The 2001 ranking of other Virginia universities are:

78 University of Virginia, $149.5 million

104 Virginia Commonwealth, $99.2 million

158 William & Mary, $35.8 million

162 George Mason University, $32.8 million

183 Eastern Virginia Medical College, $26.2 million

186 Old Dominion University, $24.6 million