The University Record, December 20, 1999

Research expenditures totaled almost $0.5 billion, another all-time high

By Wono Lee
News and Information Services

The University’s research expenditures increased by 1.7 percent in 1998–99 and reached another record total—$499,721,931.

Of the total, $342,238,936—or 68.5 percent—came from federal agencies. Other sponsor groups included: U-M funds, $61,062,895 (12.2 percent); industry, $35,993,630 (7.2 percent); other non-profit sources, $20,851,510 (4.2 percent); foundations, $18,215,466 (3.6 percent); trade and professional associations, $8,188,045 (1.6 percent); other funding sources, $13,171,449 (2.7 percent).

“Among all of the activity I’ve been involved in or witnessed, what impresses me most is the tremendous vitality that exists in our faculty and students,” said Fawwaz T. Ulaby, vice president for research, in presenting his annual “Report on Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity” to the Regents at their December meeting.

“The only comparison we have of research expenditures by peer institutions is based on data published by the National Science Foundation. Using these data, the

U-M ranks first in the nation in research expenditures,” Ulaby said.

He noted that, “A conservative estimate suggests that nearly 24,000 members of the U-M community take part in some direct way in scholarly work of some kind. Sponsored projects active in 1998–99 surpassed 4,600, of which 4,300 were supported by external funds, with the balance funded internally. Of course, not all research and scholarly activity is supported by specific external or internal funds. Access to computing resources and libraries may be all that’s required to carry out some projects.

“For our faculty to continue to succeed, the institution must also adapt and support the faculty at several levels,” Ulaby said. “Foremost is making sure that they have the resources they require, including administrative support, seed funding to help new areas of work get started, top-flight facilities and cost sharing for projects when sponsors require it. Laboratory and office space is forever scarce, and this is a major concern for faculty, deans and the central administration.

“The institution also faces constant pressure to maintain the high quality of our faculty, so recruitment and retention are something we pay constant attention to.

“Without a doubt,” he concluded, “the U-M is a great institution populated by intelligent, creative people whose work creates vibrancy that is found in only a very few universities around the world.”