University of Florida surpasses $1 billion in research spending for first time in 2022

University of Florida faculty surpassed $1 billion in research spending for the first time in 2022, developing treatments for diseases, new agricultural products, engineering solutions and countless other advancements.

With $1.076 billion in research expenditures, UF joins an exclusive group of about 15 public universities around the country to surpass $1 billion, including the University of Michigan, UCLA and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

UF Vice President for Research David Norton praised the faculty and staff for driving the university's relentless pursuit of new knowledge and discovery through research and scholarship.

“Surpassing the $1 billion research milestone reflects UF's continued rise as one of the leading research universities in the United States,” Norton said. “But this number represents far more than dollars – it represents the value of these researchers’ remarkable intellect and talent and its impact on our state, our nation and the world.”

The data is based on UF’s response to the National Science Foundation’s annual Higher Education Research and Development Survey (HERD), which gathers comparable spending data from hundreds of universities around the country. The numbers reflect spending for the fiscal year that ended on June 30. In the last HERD report, based on 2020 fiscal year data, UF ranked 16th among public universities.

Almost half of the research occurred in the six colleges of UF Health, led by the College of Medicine in Gainesville and Jacksonville with $347 million; the College of Public Health & Health Professions with $34.5 million; the College of Veterinary Medicine with $32.1 million; the College of Pharmacy with $31.4 million; the College of Dentistry with $17.2 million; and the College of Nursing with $5 million.

UF Health has major research thrusts in cancer, diabetes, neurological diseases, gene therapy and many other areas, where scientists and doctors work together to develop new treatments and therapies for patients from Florida and beyond.

Researchers in the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) – in Gainesville and at research centers and extension offices throughout the state – conducted $278 million in research, helping the state’s agricultural industry successfully produce hundreds of different commodities, from citrus and blueberries to clams and pine trees. UF/IFAS researchers are also leaders in the study of climate and conservation; emerging pathogens, including mosquito-borne diseases; and invasive species, like Burmese pythons.

Engineers in the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering conducted $131.8 million in research on such things as the application of artificial intelligence and cybersecurity; predicting and mitigating hurricane damage; ensuring bridge and road safety; and addressing sea level rise.

In the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, scientists in fields including chemistry, physics, geology, biology and astronomy conducted $57.9 million in research on projects like the Mars Perseverance Rover, gravitational waves and black holes, sustainable plastics and the impacts of climate change on plants and animals.

Faculty from all of UF’s 16 colleges and the Florida Museum of Natural History contributed to the record research, as did scientists at UF Scripps Biomedical Research, which UF acquired from the Scripps Research Institute in April.

About $469 million of the research was funded by federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Department of Energy and NASA. Another $171.7 million came from the State of Florida. Other funding sources include industry and private foundations.

UF leads the State University System of Florida, which has $2.3 billion in research spending annually. Research at Florida’s state universities has an estimated statewide economic impact of about $4 billion and generates more than 20,000 jobs.

“I am absolutely thrilled by the news of this spectacular $1 billion milestone in research spending at the University of Florida,” said Mori Hosseini, chair of the UF Board of Trustees. “The statewide economic impact related to Florida’s State University System research spending is phenomenal, and UF’s share of that total — more than 40% — is something we can all be proud of.”

Joseph Kays July 19, 2022