Colorado State University Research Spending Grows to Record $340 Million

Note to Reporters: A chart listing expenditures and a photo are available with the news release at

Despite significant cutbacks in federal funding, Colorado State University still held its place as one of the top performing research institutions in the nation, growing annual research spending to about $340 million in Fiscal Year 2012.

The research dollars set a new record high for the university and mark the fifth year in a row that spending has exceeded $300 million.

Additionally, the increase in research dollars keeps 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.

For FY2012, research expenditures grew to roughly $340 million from about $330 million in FY2011. FY2012 ended on June 30.

“These research expenditures represent an achievement for CSU and its faculty, who are competitive in a world of declining or flat financial resources,” said Bill Farland, vice president for Research. “The investment that private industry and federal agencies continue to make in our programs indicates they are confident in our abilities to conduct cutting-edge research that is helping people and even creating jobs.”

Colorado State faculty submitted 2,255 proposals for funding in FY 2012 – up 7.5 percent over 2,097 proposals submitted in FY 2011 and an all-time high. Grants awarded rose to nearly $268 million – an increase of $14 million.

Federal funding accounts for 67 percent of the total research expenditure dollars from such agencies as:
• U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ($52.3 million),
• U.S. Department of Agriculture ($47.2 million),
• National Science Foundation ($36.7 million), and
• U.S. Department of Defense ($36.3 million).

Local funds totaled $48 million including $36 million in legislated- or sponsor-required (i.e., matching) funds.

The term “research expenditures” reflects 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), which is the standard way of assessing a university’s level of research activity nationwide.

A breakdown of CSU expenditures for the past seven years:

• 2012 – $340 million
• 2011 – $330.8 million
• 2010 – $302.9 million
• 2009 – $311.7 million
• 2008 – $302.6 million
• 2007 – $296.0 million
• 2006 – $267.4 million

Highlights of the 2012 Fiscal Year:

• Industrial funding grew $800,000 based on increased effort to grow this sector despite the down economy.

• Investments in the Colorado State University Research Foundation and the university’s Superclusters grew $1.45 million.

• Among the larger awards to faculty:

o Biologist Pat Bedinger received a $5.8 million National Science Foundation grant to investigate whether wild tomatoes could help researchers design potatoes resistant to the fungus that caused the Irish potato famine and still threatens potato crops around the globe.
o Colorado State tuberculosis researchers recently received five Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grants totaling about $3.65 million to develop everything from models that better mimic the impact of tuberculosis infection in humans to tuberculosis-detecting tests that can be used in countries with few resources.

• Not included in the release are figures from Colorado State Forest Service fire-related activities since the fire-related responsibilities and expenditure activity of the CSFS is moving to Colorado Department of Public Safety as of FY13. These funds will be included in FY12 final reports to federal agencies.