With more than $450 million in research expenditures for fiscal year 2011, Virginia Tech continues to rank in the top 5 percent of research universities and colleges in an annual survey of more than 900 institutions conducted by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Rising three places to No. 41, Virginia Tech remains the top university in Virginia for funds expended in pursuit of science, engineering, and other scholarly activity, and the only Virginia institution in the top 50.

The statistics are compiled from the NSF’s Higher Education Research and Development Survey, the primary source of information on research and development expenditures at higher education institutions. The survey indicates research and development spending at institutions in the United States increased by 4 percent between the 2010 and 2011 fiscal years. Virginia Tech R&D expenditures increased 13 percent, beating the national average.

"Funding agencies are looking for solutions that address relevant problems and answer national challenges," said Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger. "At the same time, Virginia Tech scientists and engineers are engaged with important public issues associated with energy, sustainability, new technology, and health. These research expenditures position us to answer national challenges, to create knowledge and innovative technologies, and to energize commerce. It is an essential part of our mission as a public, land-grant university."

In the 12 years since Jan. 7, 2000, when Steger became Virginia Tech's 15th president, the university's research portfolio has more than doubled from $192.7 million to $450 million. R&D spending increased annually with continued reinvestment in infrastructure and faculty, positioning the university in primary areas of sponsored research, including agriculture, engineering, the health sciences, and physical and natural sciences.

"Virginia Tech's research capability expands through its faculty and students," said Robert W. Walters, vice president for research. "We are able to successfully compete in a highly charged research environment because we have assembled quality people with high levels of expertise and talent, and placed them in a culture that crosses disciplines, merges sciences, and encourages academic, industry, and multi-institutional participation. It makes Virginia Tech a great fit to address society’s needs."

The NSF reports national university spending on research and development in all fields increased between fiscal years 2010 and 2011, reaching $65 billion in 2011. However, the total includes $4.2 billion in awards associated with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) that must be expended by the end of the 2013 calendar year.

Nearly 80 percent of Virginia Tech’s research portfolio is funded by competitive awards from the federal government and funding agencies such as the NSF, and the departments of defense, health and human services, transportation, agriculture, and energy. About 10 percent of funding is from commercial sources and industry partnerships.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.


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