UW-Madison research expenditures top the $1 billion mark

Oct. 7, 2010

by Terry Devitt

For the first time, annual research expenditures at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have surpassed the $1 billion milestone.

The latest figures released by the National Science Foundation (NSF) showed UW-Madison fiscal year 2009 research expenditures in science and engineering at $952 million, a jump of $70 million from the previous year. UW-Madison research expenditures outside of engineering and science — including the areas of business, education, arts and humanities — totaled $62 million for fiscal year 2009.

Among 711 universities surveyed, UW-Madison ranks third in science and engineering expenditures, the same ranking as 2008, behind Johns Hopkins and the combined campuses of the University of Michigan System. In the non-sciences area, UW-Madison ranks fifth.

"This amazing achievement is testimony to the strength and competitiveness of our faculty. It is great news for the university and the state of Wisconsin," says UW-Madison Chancellor Biddy Martin. "Historically, we have done very well at securing outside support for research and that research funding creates jobs and supports innovation. Our aim is to keep Wisconsin's among the world's premier research institutions and the state's best economic engines."

The NSF accounting includes funding from federal, state and private sources. In fiscal year 2009, an estimated $515 million was obtained through competitive grant applications to the various federal agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and NASA.

Not reflected in the newest NSF survey results are all of the funds obtained for research under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The most recent UW-Madison figures show an additional 354 awards totaling $164 million in stimulus funding.

Research expenditures pay for research, including salaries and supplies and expenses. It is estimated that more than half of all UW-Madison employees are paid from funds other than state tax dollars or tuition and research funding is a significant component.

Since the inception of the NSF survey more than two decades ago, UW-Madison has consistently ranked among the top five of all research universities participating.

"Despite difficult economic times and fierce competition, we continue to do very well as a university in securing support for our programs of research," notes Vice Chancellor for Research and Dean of the Graduate School Martin Cadwallader. "The fact that we now bring to Wisconsin more than $1 billion a year in research funding is a testament to the creativity and hard work of our faculty, staff and students."