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National Science Foundation ranks A&M 19th in total R&D expenditures

testtubes / Olivier Le Queinec

Texas A&M University has rejoined the nation’s list of the top 20 research universities, based on annual expenditures in research and development, according to a recent survey from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Released this month, the NSF’s Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) Survey ranks Texas A&M at 19th with research and development expenditures of slightly more than $820 million during fiscal year 2013.

This represents an 18.25 percent increase from fiscal 2012, when Texas A&M recorded $693.4 million in expenditures and ranked 24th in the NSF survey for that fiscal year.

“In terms of research capabilities, our competition is no longer in Texas,” said John Sharp, Chancellor of The Texas A&M University System. “Texas A&M research is now ranked among the top 20 research universities in America and it has just begun to grow.”

While the improved ranking is a sign of progress, Texas A&M’s long-term goal remains to become one of the top-10 research universities on the NSF’s list, Vice President for Research Glen A. Laine said. “Our move into the top 20 is a result of the outstanding efforts of our stellar faculty-researchers. We are developing programs to compete even more effectively for the limited funding available at the top levels of research,” he said. “We expect these programs to generate millions in additional funding dollars in the coming fiscal years.”

Laine pointed out that Chancellor Sharp’s decision to move the Health Science Center from the System to the university, and his decision to move the Center for Innovation and Advanced Development Manufacturing from the System to the Health Science Center, greatly increased research collaboration and research activities.

The NSF survey provides an annual census of 891 degree-granting colleges and universities in the United States, with a minimum budget of at least $150,000 in research and development expenditures. The latest survey found that U.S. universities recorded $67.2 billion in research and development expenditures in fiscal 2013. When adjusted for inflation, the NSF said, that total reflects an increase of less than a half percent from fiscal 2012’s total of $65.7 billion.

Johns Hopkins University led the survey with $2.1 billion in expenditures, followed by University of Michigan at Ann Arbor ($1.3 billion), and the University of Washington at Seattle ($1.1 billion).

Texas A&M is the only university in the state to make the NSF’s top 20. The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center ranked 26th with $718 million; The University of Texas at Austin ranked 31st with $634 million; the Baylor College of Medicine ranked 37th with $508.7 million; and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center ranked 45th with $440.6 million.