Colorado State University One of Nation’s Top Research Universities with Annual Research Spending Growing to $330.8 Million in 2011

Note to Reporters: A chart is available upon request.

Despite a down economy, Colorado State University grew its annual research spending nearly 10 percent to $330.8 million in Fiscal Year 2011 – the fourth year in a row that expenditures topped $300 million and a record high for CSU, which already boasts one of the most productive research faculties in the country.

Over the past six years, research spending at Colorado State has increased 24 percent, even at a time of significant cuts in federal research funding nationwide. For the most recent fiscal year, expenditures rose to $330.8 million from $302.9 million in Fiscal Year 2010. Of that $330.8 million, federal awards-based expenditures increased 9 percent to $236.6 million from $211.7 million the previous year.

The term “research expenditures” reflects the amount of funded research the university conducts. Research expenditures reflect actual annual spending of funding from a variety of sources including federal, state and local government as well as private sector. Research awards are the dollars awarded in one year to researchers. Often, a research grant awarded in one year (grant award) will be expended over a number of years (research expenditure). This is the standard way of assessing a university’s level of research activity nationwide.

“These record research dollars represent a tremendous achievement for CSU and speak to the quality of our faculty and the competitive areas in which they do their research,” said President Tony Frank. “Federal agencies and industry continue to invest in our scientific enterprise, which benefits our students as well as Colorado’s economic health. Even during a recession, research is making a difference in people’s lives in the state and around the globe, creating new industries and new jobs.”

“This is the 14th straight year that Colorado State has had an increase in either expenditures or awards or both,” said Bill Farland, vice president for Research. “While the economic downturn has generally affected some state and foundation support and federal support nationwide, competitively awarded federal dollars continued to flow into the university, which is a testament to the quality of proposals submitted by our faculty. Those research dollars are leading to advancements in knowledge, new companies and job creation.”

Colorado State’s research dollars put the university on the map nationally: In the most recent report from the National Science Foundation for Fiscal Year 2008-2009, Colorado State ranks second in the nation among public research universities without a medical school. On a per-faculty basis, the NSF study ranks Colorado State first in federally funded research-and-development among all public institutions.

The NSF survey tabulated Fiscal Year 2008-2009 federal expenditures for science and engineering research at 711 public and private institutions.

A breakdown of CSU expenditures for the past six years:

  • 2011 – $330.8 million
  • 2010 – $302.9 million
  • 2009 – $311.7 million
  • 2008 – $302.6 million
  • 2007 – $296.0 million
  • 2006 – $267.4 million

Other CSU highlights for FY11:

-The average value of 2011 research proposals totaled $415,368. Faculty submitted 2,097 proposals for grants in FY 2011.

-Among the top federal sponsors are Health and Human Services ($52.9 million), U.S. Department of Agriculture ($48.3 million), miscellaneous federal agencies ($43.1 million) and the National Science Foundation ($36.7 million).

-The economy affected contributions by non-federal sources – such as state and local government agencies and foundations – which fell to $46.1 million in FY11 from $49.1 million in FY10.

-A contributor to the 2010-2011 increase was the Colorado State Forest Service, which plays a lead role in responding to wildfire activity throughout Colorado. CSU is only one of a handful of universities to host a state forest service, which is a service and outreach unit within CSU’s Warner College of Natural Resources. The Colorado State Forest Service maintains relationships with more than 400 collaborators around the state and region to mobilize essential resources for fire fighting and mitigation.

-Among the larger individual awards to faculty during the fiscal year:

• $3.9 million to Karen Dobos, assistant professor of microbiology, from HHS/NIH – NIAID – Allergy & Infectious Diseases to continue work on tuberculosis vaccine testing and research;

• $2.6 million to June Medford, professor of biology, from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency to continue her research into plants as detectors of environmental pollutants and explosives;

• $2.5 million from the National Science Foundation to John Moore, professor in the Warner College of Natural Resources, to continue work on culturally relevant ecology.