Pitt Is 3rd Among Publics, 5th Among All Universities In Federal R&D Spending

Issue Date: 
April 16, 2012

Pitt ranks third among the nation’s public institutions of higher education and fifth among all universities, public and private, in its federally financed research and development (R&D) expenditures, according to the latest figures issued by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF).

The annual rankings, just released by the NSF, cover fiscal year 2010. Pitt’s federally derived R&D expenditures for that period totaled $594.7 million. Its total FY 2010 R&D expenditures added up to $822.5 million. The other two top public universities in the rankings of federally financed R&D expenditures were the University of Washington-Seattle and the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor; the top two private institutions in the rankings were Johns Hopkins University and the University of Pennsylvania.

In rank order, the top five universities in the NSF’s annual survey were Johns Hopkins, Washington, Michigan, Penn, and Pitt. The universities ranked in the second five were Stanford, the University of California at San Diego, Columbia, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the University of Wisconsin.

“These latest rankings from the National Science Foundation are a testament to the talent and commitment of our researchers, who compete for this funding against the very best faculty members at the very best universities in the country. But these rankings also are very good news for Southwestern Pennsylvania and the Commonwealth as a whole, because they present in clear and concrete terms the major dollars-and-cents impact of Pitt through its power to import hundreds of millions of dollars into the state, funds that now support, directly and indirectly, some 28,000 local jobs,” commented Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg.

“The rankings also unmistakably demonstrate the enormous return on investment the Commonwealth receives through its support of this university as a public institution,” added Nordenberg. “The comparison between $822.5 million in research support with our current state appropriation of $144.5 million is stark. It is unlikely that the Commonwealth achieves anything close to that level of return on any of its other investments. In addition, these rankings clearly reveal the elite institutions, both public and private, with which Pitt now keeps company, and it is widely recognized around the world that the kind of innovation associated with top research universities will be a key to economic success in the 21st century.”

“The University of Pittsburgh’s remarkable success in attracting increasingly large amounts of federal support stems directly from the indefatigable efforts of our world-class faculty in pursuing trailblazing research that has made and continues to make life better for millions worldwide, from the development of the Salk polio vaccine in the 1950s to today’s advances in the health sciences, basic sciences, and engineering,” said Pitt Vice Provost for Research George E. Klinzing. “All of this is as it should be, since Pitt, as our region’s premier public research university, not only makes it possible for its students to learn in an atmosphere alive with creative ferment, but also, as part of its public mission, acts as a powerful economic engine.”