National Science Foundation Ranks Colorado State University One of Nation’s Top 50 Research Institutions

Note to Reporters: Charts, a copy of the NSF report and photos of CSU research are available with the news release at

Colorado State University ranks second in the nation among public research universities without a medical school, according to a new report on research universities released this week by the National Science Foundation.

NSF surveyed 711 public and private institutions in the report, which tabulates Fiscal Year 2008-2009 federal expenditures for science and engineering research. On a per-faculty basis, the university ranks first in federally funded research and development among all public institutions. Colorado State ranked No. 49 among all private and public institutions with record-high total research expenditures in FY08-09 of $311.7 million, which includes all research funding.

In a separate survey, Colorado State ranked among the top 100 of “high-impact” U.S. research universities in the University of Western Australia’s “Worldwide University Rankings,” which looked at 1,000 institutions and 5,000 faculties worldwide. The university ranked 201 worldwide among all public and private institutions.

The official tally is based on a numerical measure of the quality and consistency of publication or research output.

“Once again, our exceptional faculty members have elevated Colorado State University with cutting-edge research that benefits students, our state and the world around us,” said President Tony Frank. “A top-ranked research university like CSU drives economic growth and job creation in Colorado and beyond. Above all, students at Colorado State benefit from learning from and working hand-in-hand with some of the best and brightest in their fields.”

In its report, NSF stated that R&D spending in science and engineering increased 5.8 percent between FY07-08 and FY08-09 to $54.9 billion, according to FY08-09 data.

Colorado State research expenditures reached $302.8 million in FY09-10 – the third year in a row the university has reported more than $300 million. The university also set a record for grant awards for FY09-10: Awards grew 4.1 percent to $285.6 million from $274.3 million in FY08-09. Federal awards increased for the second consecutive year, which is an indication that scientists at Colorado State are among some of the most productive compared with their peers nationwide.

In comparison to its private and public peers, CSU ranked 67th in total research expenditures, according to the NSF data. That includes universities with medical schools.

Research expenditures reflect actual annual spending of funding from a variety of sources including local, state and federal government. Grant awards are the dollars awarded in a year to researchers. Often, a research grant awarded in one year (grant award) will be expended over a number of years (research expenditure).

Highlights of Colorado State University as a research institution:

• The College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences leads all other schools of its kind in external research funding.

• Popular Science magazine ranked the College of Engineering’s Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory sixth out of 30 national university laboratories.

• Colorado State’s Department of Occupational Therapy was ranked eighth in the nation in 2008 by U.S. News and World Report’s "America’s Best Graduate Schools" rankings. The department has been ranked in the top 10 occupational therapy programs by the U.S. News and World Report survey for multiple years.

• The College of Agricultural Sciences consistently ranks in the top 10 in the country in terms of awards, grants and contracts received.

Highlights of the NSF report:

• Almost 60 percent of the institutions are public universities (414 in FY08-09). They accounted for 68 percent ($37.5 billion) of the total FY08-09 academic R&D expenditures.

• The federal government is the largest source of academic science and engineering research funding even though its share of the funding total has dropped by 5 percentage points in recent years – from 64 percent in FY04-05 to 59 percent in FY08-09.

• The majority of academic R&D funding is in the life sciences ($32.8 billion in FY08-09) followed by engineering with $8.7 billion.