Main navigation | Main content
Vice President for Research Brian Herman delivered his first State of Research report to the Board of Regents on Feb. 14, 2014, presenting performance measures for fiscal 2013, five year trends, an update of technology commercialization efforts and a comparative analysis of research activity as measured against regional, national and global peers. Herman also announced a new five-year plan designed to advance the University’s research enterprise: Five Years Forward through Collective Inspiration and Discovery.
Overall, performance measures continue to show a strong research enterprise sustaining its ranking and performance among an elite group of institutions. University faculty and staff competed successfully for $693 million in sponsored research awards, despite a flat growth funding environment attributable to lingering effects of the economic downtown, a long term national trend toward federal disinvestment in basic research, and recent federal budget cuts resulting from sequestration (see below).
FY13 Awards by College & Campus (in millions)
While the fiscal 2013 award total was down $56 million, or 7.5 percent, from the previous year, this drop is due in part to the winding down of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, which dropped to $794 thousand in fiscal 2013, down from a high water mark of $13.4 million in fiscal 2010. Throughout the duration of ARRA funding, the university received a total of $251.6 million in ARRA funds, the second highest amount in the Big 10 behind Michigan. Over the five year period covering the ARRA funding (2009 to 2013), the university system grew its award funding 14 percent.
The overall report shows a flat growth trend from 2009 to 2013 in all funding sectors, yet the U of M maintained its high ranking among the top 10 research institutions and showed promising growth in some key areas such as technology commercialization and public-private partnerships. The U of M ranked third among the Big 10 for award totals received at the institution over the five year period (see below).
CIC Award Comparison (in millions)
According to the National Science Foundation survey of R&D expenditure data for 2012 (the most current data available), the university ranks ninth, remaining among the elite public research universities, with the Twin Cities campuses posting over $826 million in research expenditures, and as a university system generating over $849 million.
The university continued its strong performance and productivity in fiscal 2013 with nearly all metrics showing growth over the previous fiscal year, including an increase in invention disclosures, patent filings and licenses. Non-Glaxo licensing revenues are also up from the previous year. A record 14 startup companies were launched, topping the previous record set in fiscal 2012 when 12 startups were spun out.
A new technology commercialization metric tracks the number of MN-IP, or Minnesota Innovation Partnerships, agreements since the program was launched in 2011. By the end of fiscal 2013, 55 new sponsored research agreements had been signed through the MN-IP program.
In order to continue to meet the high performance metrics highlighted this report, the university has proposed robust and visionary measures by which to continue to meet research excellence standards. These include cultivating strong transdisciplinary and public-private partnerships as well as transforming the university’s research culture.
One recent example is MnDRIVE, a landmark partnership between the state, university and business. MnDRIVE, an $18 million annually-recurring investment from the state, aligns areas of university strength with the needs and interests of industry to foster innovation and cultivate strategic business collaborations that advance Minnesota’s economy and address our state and society’s greatest challenges.
Transdisciplinary Partnerships: The Triple Helix