University of Florida ranks 15th among public universities with $865 million in 2018 research expenditures

The University of Florida’s record $865 million in research expenditures in 2018 placed it 15th among public universities in a national ranking of R&D spending, a new report from the National Science Foundation shows.

The statistics are based on NSF’s annual Higher Education Research and Development, or HERD, survey, which compiles research expenditure data from more than 600 higher education institutions in the United States.

Other ranked public institutions include the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill at 7th, Penn State at 12th, the University of California, Berkeley at 16th and the University of Texas, Austin at 21st.

While total expenditures to universities nationally increased 5.5%, UF increased 7.95% between 2017 and 2018.

UF was even more successful on federally funded research. It’s $355.5 million in expenditures from federal agencies in 2018 represents an 8.6% increase over 2017, compared to a 4.2% increase among all institutions during the same period. This placed UF 34th among all universities and 18th among public universities, compared to 38th overall and 22nd among publics in 2017.

Spending for research is a key indicator of the health of an institution’s research enterprise. Expenditures represent how much grant money the university actually spends in any given year. So, for example, a five-year, $10 million award might report expenditures of $2 million per year.

UF’s overall increase was bolstered by gains from its two largest federal funding agencies: the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Science Foundation. The university reported $205.6 million in HHS projects, up almost 13% from $182.4 million in 2017, which pushed its rank from 21st to 17th among public universities and from 42nd to 37th among all universities. The university had $48.7 million in NSF expenditures, up 4.5% percent from $46.5 million in 2017, helping UF to maintain its rank of 23rd among publics in NSF.

Among other State University System institutions in Florida, the University of South Florida in Tampa ranked 26th among public universities, Florida State University was 51st and the University of Central Florida was 73rd.

“Growth in research expenditures reflects UF’s high national stature,” said David Norton, UF’s vice president for research. “The funding supports our faculty’s efforts to find cures for diseases, improve and develop new crops to feed the world, probe the mysteries of the universe and understand the human spirit.”

Joseph Kays December 2, 2019