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UNC-Chapel Hill rose to ninth from 16th among leading private and public research universities for the level of federal funding ($545.99 million) devoted to research and development in all fields during fiscal 2010.

The new ranking, based on data compiled by the National Science Foundation, was published by The Chronicle of Higher Education, a trade newspaper. The federal government financed 61 percent of the $61.2-billion that universities dedicated to research and development in fiscal 2010, the Chronicle reported.

Among national public universities, Carolina ranked fourth in federal R&D spending behind the universities of Washington (2nd overall at nearly $830 million), Michigan at Ann Arbor (3rd overall at about $748 million), and California at San Diego (7th overall at $580 million). The University of Wisconsin at Madison rounded out the top 10 at $545.18 million.

Private universities in the top 10 were Johns Hopkins (1st, $1.7 billion), University of Pennsylvania (4th, $642 million), University of Pittsburgh, main campus, (5th, $594 million), Stanford University (6th, $593 million), and Columbia University (8th, $572 million). Johns Hopkins’ total included a $1.01 billion award for an Applied Physics Laboratory. Duke was the only other N.C. university in the top 25, placing 13th at $514.08 million.

“Cracking the top 10 for federal R&D spending shows powerful, positive momentum,” said Chancellor Holden Thorp. “We’ve gained 10 spots in the national top 25 list since 2008. That’s a great tribute to the creativity and productivity of our faculty, who have been remarkably successful in attracting research funding despite the economic downturn.”

Overall, UNC-Chapel Hill ranked 15th for research and development expenditures ($755.28 million) from all sources in fiscal 2010.

In fiscal 2009, UNC-Chapel Hill ranked 16th for federal research and development spending with nearly $432 million and 19th overall for total spending.

UNC-Chapel Hill faculty are part of an internationally recognized multidisciplinary research enterprise that draws from five health sciences schools (dentistry, medicine, nursing, pharmacy and public health), UNC Health Care and its teaching hospitals, as well as basic and social science units in the College of Arts and Sciences.

In fiscal 2012, UNC-Chapel Hill secured about $767 million in total research funding from all sources. Excluding federal stimulus support, research funding totaled $759 million in that category, compared with $732 million last year.

In fiscal 2011, UNC-Chapel Hill faculty attracted $788 million in total research support. Of that, 73 percent came from the federal government. Of the $575 million in total federal funding, the National Institutes of Health accounted for 69 percent. 

University Research-and-Development Spending Financed by the Federal Government, Fiscal 2010

The federal government financed 61 percent of the $61.2-billion that universities dedicated to research and development in all fields in the 2010 fiscal year.

List of Institutions by Rank and Expenditures
1.  Johns Hopkins U.* $1,737,261,000
2.  U. of Washington $829,885,000
3.  U. of Michigan at Ann Arbor $747,778,000
4.  U. of Pennsylvania $642,180,000
5.  U. of Pittsburgh, main campus $594,675,000
6.  Stanford U. $593,016,000
7.  U. of California at San Diego $580,279,000
8.  Columbia U. $572,213,000
9.  U. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill $545,993,000
10.  U. of Wisconsin at Madison $545,189,000
11.  U. of California at Los Angeles $538,521,000
12.  U. of California at San Francisco $514,693,000
13.  Duke U. $514,084,000
14.  Yale U. $475,794,000
15.  Harvard U. $474,899,000
16.  Washington U. in St. Louis $468,642,000
17.  Pennsylvania State U. at University Park $464,750,000
18.  Massachusetts Institute of Technology $457,575,000
19.  Cornell U. $448,085,000
20.  U. of Minnesota-Twin Cities $426,359,000
21.  U. of Southern California $408,564,000
22.  Ohio State U. $399,942,000
23.  Vanderbilt U. $397,656,000
24.  Northwestern U. $379,648,000
25.  Georgia Institute of Technology $372,122,000

* Includes $1,019,375,000 for the Applied Physics Laboratory
Source: National Science Foundation

Published August 27, 2012.