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Jan. 6, 2020

MSU research continues growth trend

Michigan State University’s research enterprise continues its upward growth trajectory, according to new National Science Foundation data.

linegraph showing expenditures in '09 at $400 M rising to $715.3M in 2018In the recently released National Science Foundation Higher Education Research and Development, or NSF HERD Survey, MSU’s research expenditures for 2018 were $715 million, rising from $695 million in 2017, and continuing an upward trend for more than a decade.

Research expenditures — the funds spent to conduct research — are frequently cited for comparing research levels among colleges and universities. The HERD number represents total research expenditures across the entire university.

MSU’s national rank for total research expenditures is 32nd among more than 600 institutions surveyed. Michigan State ranks first in expenditures attributable to the Department of Energy. Increases were also recognized in National Science Foundation and Health and Human Services funded expenditures (e.g., from the National Institutes of Health).

“This growth is a credit to the hard work of our faculty, staff and students,” said MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. “And while the expenditure number is an excellent comparison metric, it’s the new discoveries and outcomes in which we should really take great pride. I look forward to seeing the continued return on our investments in new research priorities, which helps us attract talented faculty, drive economic development, create an ecosystem for student learning and improve quality of life for all.”

Among universities ranked above MSU, most have major medical research complexes. In such cases, the medical research expenditure can exceed all other research expenditures on that campus combined. Only three universities without large teaching hospitals rank above MSU. New strategies at Michigan State will further improve this profile.pie chart DOE $93M 28%, NSF $80M 24%, HHS $69M 21%, Other $39M 12%, USDA $33M 10%, DOD $12M 4%, NASA $3M 1%“We have invested strategically in key areas of research that are especially promising, including nuclear physics, artificial intelligence, plant science and biomedicine,” said Stephen Hsu, senior vice president for research and innovation at MSU. “The Global Impact Initiative has also been a driver, with nearly 90 new faculty recruited to MSU in exciting new areas of research,” said Hsu.

The annual NSF HERD survey assesses all institutions receiving federal funds. Recipients report research expenditures from all funding sources. MSU has participated in that survey since 1998. The NSF numbers constitute the most comprehensive listing of research expenditures, providing data consistency for comparison across institutions. The most recent comparison data is the 2018 survey report.