University of South Florida Surges in National Research Rankings to No. 43

USF moves up 10 spots among both public and private institutions nationwide.

Tasha Snow, a PhD student in the College of Marine Science, does research on climate change. USF News | Katy Hennig

By Vickie Chachere

USF News

TAMPA, Fla. (Dec. 2, 2013) - The University of South Florida moved up to No. 43 in the federal government’s ranking of research spending among both public and private institutions – a 10-place improvement that came in a year when higher education research spending across the nation was largely stagnant.

USF’s upward trajectory was fueled by the university’s growing success in securing private and non-governmental research grants and contracts, a trend that helped USF continue to grow its total research grants and contracts to a new record of $413.6 million and buffer against the automatic federal funding cuts known as sequester.

“I am very proud of USF’s faculty, students and staff for succeeding in this challenging era for research funding,” said USF President Judy Genshaft.

“Our rise in the research rankings is a direct result of the hard work that goes on every single day across our campus, as well as our shared commitment to improving lives through scientific discovery; the creation of new knowledge and new technologies; and the development of improved cures and treatments for illnesses and diseases. Our work is making a difference in people’s lives and in Florida’s economy.”

The new nationwide survey data from the National Science Foundation shows that USF is expanding its research enterprise in an important indicator of research activity – expenditures – which are considered a significant marker of an institution’s actual research activity.

For all research and development expenditures, USF reported that total research expenditures increased from $394.9 million in fiscal year 2011 to $443.2 million in fiscal year 2012. Federally-funded research expenditures for USF declined from $243 million in 2011 to $236 million in 2012.

Among public institutions only, USF moved to No. 27 - up from No. 33 last year - in total research expenditures.

While sequester and the recent federal government shutdown created uncertainty in federally-funded research, privately-funded and corporate-funded research grants and contracts now account for about 45 percent of USF’s research totals.

“This new ranking reflects the outstanding accomplishments of our researchers, the staff members who support their work, and our critically important community partners,” said Paul R. Sanberg, USF’s Senior Vice President for Research & Innovation. “Their discoveries make a real difference, leading to new inventions, startup companies, new jobs, and economic growth across our region, state and nation.”

NSF is reporting that public and private university spending on research and development in all fields totaled $65.8 billion in fiscal year 2012, according to data collected from institutions in the Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) Survey. When adjusted for inflation, higher education research and development declined by 1.1 percent in the last fiscal year, NSF said.

Research expenditures funded by state and local governments showed a modest decline for the second year in a row, NSF reported, while most nongovernmental funding sources showed increases between fiscal year 2011 and 2012. 

For the complete NSF research expenditures ranking list, click here.

For more information on the NSF survey, click here.

Vickie Chachere can be reached (813) 974-6251.