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November 4, 2010

PSU ranks 9th in R&D; expenditure

A National Science Foundation survey ranked Penn State ninth in total research and development spending for science and engineering among universities across the country for the 2008-2009 fiscal year.

Penn State and its campuses garnered $753 million in science and engineering dollars — a 7 percent increase from the year before, NSF Survey Statistician Ronda Britt said.

During the 2007-2008 fiscal year, the university ranked eleventh nationwide and second in Pennsylvania, Britt said.

Now, the survey ranks the university ahead of all other colleges in Pennsylvania, Britt said.

Henry Foley, vice president for research and dean of the Graduate School, said higher standards of research and development will ensure a bright future for the university.

“We’ll make sure we deliver on promises we make,” Foley said. “We’ll make sure we do it ethically and without mistakes.”

During the 2009-2010 fiscal year, Penn State received $780 million in research expenditures.

Foley said with restricted expenditures because of the economic recession, research offices will promote wise spending and support less prominent research areas.

Johns Hopkins University topped the NSF’s list with $1.856 billion in R&D spending.

University of Michigan took second with $1 billion and University of Wisconsin—Madison rounded out the top three with $952 million in spending, Britt said.

Total research expenditures nationwide increased by 5.8 percent from the fiscal year before, totaling $54.9 billion, Britt said.

Academic spending rose 4.2 percent when adjusted for inflation across the country, Britt said.

However, she said, the increase is relatively small when compared to double-digit peaks in the late 1990s.

“This is not a big jump. It’s bigger than it has been in recent years,” Britt said.

“In the last couple years, expenditures have flatlined for one reason or another.”

Penn State brought in $439 million in federal funds to the state during the 2008-2009 fiscal year, Director of Research Communications Michael Bezilla said.

A 2008 economic impact study by Tripp Umbach and Associates reported that for every state dollar invested in 2008 to support the operations of Penn State, the university returned $25.06 in total economic impact to Pennsylvania.

Bezilla said Penn State contributes to the economy both through research and skilled teaching of graduates and undergraduates.

“The research is robust, but so is the teaching and vice and versa,” Bezilla said. “This announcement shouldn’t distract from that.”

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