Pitt Moves Up To Sixth Place In NIH Funding

Issue Date: 
January 22, 2008

In an era when the federal budget for biomedical research is failing to keep up with inflation, the University of Pittsburgh has improved its ranking to sixth in the nation among academic institutions and their affiliates in funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a universally recognized benchmark of research excellence.

Newly released data for fiscal year 2006 show that Pitt received $447 million in NIH research support. In addition, Pitt ranks fourth nationally in the number of individual grants received.

“Research is the major area of institutional activity that most clearly distinguishes our mission from that of most other institutions of higher learning,” said Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg. “Our University’s consistently high ranking among the top recipients of competitively awarded NIH funds is clear evidence of the pioneering research being completed by our faculty, and we are extremely proud of this record.”

“NIH ranking is the only objective metric that we have in a nationally competitive, peer-reviewed context,” said Arthur S. Levine, senior vice chancellor for health sciences and dean of Pitt’s School of Medicine. “While it is very difficult to measure the quality of education or the true quality of patient care, such a ranking means that we are well positioned to attract high-quality students and residents, excellent faculty, and to offer superb patient care.”

The upward shift in ranking occurs at a time when NIH budgets have flattened, following a period of steady growth. “In 2006, NIH experienced its first budget cut since 1970, resulting in a 13 percent loss of research purchasing power since 2003, while grant applications have doubled since 1998,” Levine noted.

The University of Pittsburgh’s ranking encompasses 1,082 individual grants to faculty members for a total of more than $447 million. Pitt is one of more than 3,000 entities receiving NIH support.

The top 10 research-intensive universities (including affiliates) in the United States in 2006 were: Harvard University; Johns Hopkins University; the University of Pennsylvania; the University of California, San Francisco; the University of Washington; the University of Pittsburgh; the University of California, Los Angeles; Duke University; the University of Michigan; and Washington University.

In the number of NIH grants received, Pitt trailed only Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and the University of Pennsylvania.