Virginia Tech Among Top 10 Universities In Ag And Natural Resources Research

BLACKSBURG, Va., June 10, 2003 – Virginia Tech brought in nearly $5 million more in research and development funding for the agricultural sciences in 2001 than in the previous year, according to figures released recently by the National Science Foundation.

The NSF defines agricultural science to include such disciplines as agricultural production, aquaculture, soil science, animal science, plant science, agronomy, forestry, fish and wildlife, and international agriculture. The increase during 2001 brought Virginia Tech's funding for research in those areas to nearly $68.7 million.

"This increase in funding is due to the excellence in research conducted by the faculty here," said Greg Brown, dean of the university's College of Natural Resources and interim dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. "Our researchers are focused on the practical needs of our society, and those are the issues that many funding agencies find most relevant."

While that nearly seven-percent jump in funding kept Virginia Tech among the top 10 universities nationally in that category of research, its standing dropped from the No. 7 spot to the No. 9 spot. It was overtaken in the rankings by Pennsylvania State University and Michigan State University.

Nationally, funding for agricultural research increased about 6.2 percent to more than $2.3 billion. The top institutions for agricultural research were the University of California at Davis and the University of Florida. Each of those institutions recorded in excess of $100 million in agricultural research and development funding. The University of California at Davis, which retains the No. 1 position nation ally, is the only institution among the top 10 to register a decline in agricultural research spending; all the others posted gains in funding.

"The research programs in some other states grew faster than ours, but ours is growing faster than the national average for this category," Brown said. "We feel good about that, and about the fact that our program is solid and is progressing at a sustainable rate."

Virginia Tech's agricultural research and development program accounts for nearly one-third of the research spending at the university. With $216.3 million in research expenditures, Virginia Tech has the largest research program among Virginia universities.