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Virginia Tech climbs NSF research rankings, remains No. 1 research university in Virginia


BLACKSBURG, Va., Dec. 9, 2013 – With more than $454 million in research and development expenditures for fiscal year 2012, Virginia Tech remained the No. 1 academic research institution in Virginia in the National Science Foundation’s annual survey of more than 900 universities.

Rising one slot to No. 40 in university research expenditures in the United States, Virginia Tech is the only Virginia institution in the top 50 and remains among the top 25 public research universities.

The statistics are compiled from the NSF’s Higher Education Research and Development Survey, the primary source of information on research and development expenditures at higher education institutions.

Virginia Tech’s continued research growth comes at a time when investing in higher education research and development was flat across the nation, according to the NSF.

Twelve of the top 30 universities reported expenditure declines in fiscal 2012. When adjusted for inflation, higher education research and development actually declined nationally by 1.1 percent, the NSF survey said.

"Increases in faculty-led sponsored research, combined with our university’s strategic investment in areas of regional, national, and global importance have raised Virginia Tech’s prominence as a research university,” said Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger. "Research expenditures support student engagement  in the process of creating new knowledge and answering society’s challenges, creating future generations of thought leaders who will create new technologies, energize the economy, and add to the world’s intellectual capital.”

Research and development spending with continual reinvestment in infrastructure and faculty has increased annually since Jan. 7, 2000, when Steger became Virginia Tech's 15th president. The university's research portfolio has more than doubled from $192.7 million in fiscal 2000 to 2012’s $454 million.

"The cornerstone of Virginia Tech’s success in today’s highly-competitive academic research environment is our exceptional faculty and students," said Robert W. Walters, vice president for research. “The expertise of our personnel, combined with strategic investment in interdisciplinary focus areas, favorably position Virginia Tech to engage in high-impact research that addresses global research challenges.”

Nearly 80 percent of Virginia Tech’s research portfolio is funded by competitive awards from the federal government and funding agencies such as the NSF, and the departments of defense, health and human services, transportation, agriculture, and energy. About 10 percent of funding is from commercial sources and industry partnerships.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 225 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $496 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.