The University Record, December 5, 1995

Research expenditures topped $409 million in 1994-95, all-time high

Research expenditures at the University exceeded the $400 million mark in 1994-95 for the first time in the University's history. The total---$409,235,763, to be exact---is a 6 percent increase over the previous year.

"Increases in the annual research expenditures demonstrate the continued leadership of the University in the advancement of knowledge and in the application of leading-edge technologies for the benefit of society," said Homer A. Neal, vice president for research, in his annual report to the Regents in November.

"The data in this report, as well as the wealth of faculty effort undertaken without external support, are indicative of the rich diversity of scholarly activity that has earned the U-M the distinction of being one of the nation's leading research universities."

Despite the continued success of University faculty in obtaining support for research activity, Neal cautioned that tougher times might lie ahead. He noted that current Congressional budget resolutions project major reductions in federally sponsored research from key agencies by the year 2002, ranging from 20 percent to more than 40 percent in some cases. The president's long-term budget projections, Neal noted, also include major reductions in discretionary federal funds---the source of funding for research activities.

The U-M's total research expenditures have increased by 124.4 percent over the past decade, from $182.3 million in FY 1986 to $409.2 million in FY 1995, Neal noted. "Real purchasing power of these expenditures, discounted for inflation, has also continued to increase. Over the past decade, research expenditures increased by 55.8 percent in constant (FY 1986) dollars."

Of the 1994-95 total research expenditures, $277,900,041 came from federal agencies and $131,335,722 from non-federal sources.

Research support from federal agencies accounted for 67.9 percent of the total. Major funding agencies included the Department of Health and Human Services, $159,604,286; National Science Foundation, $47,889,200; Department of Defense, $23,329,784; NASA, $11,186,624; and the Department of Energy, $9,598,093.

Research support from non-federal sources accounted for 20.2 percent of the total and included $28,650,827 from industry and $16,882,303 from others, including contributions. U-M funds accounted for 11.9 percent of the University's total research expenditures.

Neal also noted that "the field of life sciences continues to maintain a dominant position in terms of the University's research expenditures, recording a 134.2 percent increase over the past 10 years and accounting for $182.2 million (44.5 percent) of the total expenditures in FY 1995."

Engineering accounted for 17.5 percent of the total research expenditures in FY 1985 ($27.9 million), but with a phenomenal doubling of expenditures in five years, accounted for 19.6 percent of the total in FY 1990. Engineering has maintained its 19.6 percent share of the University research expenditures over the past five years, with $80.2 million in expenditures in FY 1995.

"The social sciences," Neal said, "continue to show a significant research capacity," accounting for 13.8 percent of the total research expenditures in FY 1995. The $56.5 million in expenditures represents a 177 percent increase over the $20.4 million expended in FY 1985.

Research expenditures in the physical sciences recorded a 259 percent increase over the past 10 years. The $51.7 million spent in FY 1995 accounted for 12.6 percent of the total research expenditures.