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UMass research spending reaches a high of $489 million, grows at a record pace

BOSTON -- Research expenditures at the University of Massachusetts reached a record $489.1 million in Fiscal Year 2009, President Jack M. Wilson announced today.

Research spending increased by $54 million, rising from $435 million in Fiscal Year 2008 to $489.1 million in Fiscal Year 2009 - the largest single-year increase in UMass history. The $54 million increase represents a 12.4 percent hike over the previous year.

"The University of Massachusetts is being recognized as a major force in the world of research, as evidenced by the millions of dollars in research funding that is pouring into all five of our campuses," President Wilson said. "Our faculty is being recognized for pioneering work that improves and saves lives."

"Research is an important component for any major university," President Wilson added. "Research expands the boundaries of human knowledge and also fuels economic growth, while at the same time paying dividends in the classroom by exposing students to faculty members who are the leading thinkers in their fields."

Most of the research that takes place on UMass campuses is externally funded, with the federal government providing nearly 60 percent of the University's research funding through the National Institutes for Health, the National Science Foundation and other federal agencies.

According to a new University report, total research expenditures at the University of Massachusetts have been growing at a rate that significantly exceeds the national average. For example, UMass research expenditures in Fiscal Year 2008 grew at a rate of 9.5 percent, compared with the national growth rate of 5.2 percent. Additionally, from Fiscal Year 2003 to Fiscal Year 2008, UMass research expenditures increased by 34 percent while total U.S. research university expenditures rose by only 23 percent.

Among the other key findings of the report:

  • 95.8 percent of all UMass funded research fell under the category of science and engineering
  • 56 percent of the University's funded research occurred in the life sciences
  • UMass ranks in the top three universities statewide in research activity and ranks fourth in New England

There was a wide variety of research taking place throughout the UMass system. Sponsored research focal areas on the campuses during Fiscal Year 2009, included:

  • Amherst: Leading large research centers in key technology areas, such as lower-atmosphere weather radar, materials for solar energy and nanomanufacturing
  • Boston:  Life sciences research and health care collaborations with major Boston institutions, including Children's Hospital and Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center
  • Dartmouth:  New initiative in marine renewable energy, including a regional university-industry research consortium and proposed technology demonstration site in Muskegat Channel
  • Lowell:  Partnering with other local universities and industry on a nanomanufacturing research center; expansion of biomanufacturing research and industry services program
  • Worcester: Major initiative for translating research to improved clinical outcomes, with an emphasis on gene therapy, stem cell therapy and RNAi therapeutics

Research expenditures at UMass have increased by more than 50 percent over the past six years, rising from $320 million in Fiscal Year 2003 to $489.1 million in Fiscal Year 2009.

According to the new report, Fiscal Year 2009 research expenditures by campus were:

  • Amherst, $160.7 million
  • Boston, $47 million
  • Dartmouth, $20.7 million
  • Lowell, $56.7 million
  • Worcester, $204 million

Calling research "rocket fuel for the state's innovation economy," President Wilson early in his tenure created the President's Science and Technology Fund, which seeds promising research projects on all five campuses. The President's Science and Technology Fund has provided about $1 million in project funding since it was created in 2004. The 43 projects funded to date have gone on to attract more than $100 million in additional funding from federal, state and private sources.

University of Massachusetts research strengthens existing Massachusetts companies and helps to create new companies and new jobs by leading to scientific breakthroughs and new products. Research efforts that strengthen existing companies include UMass Amherst's radar systems work with Raytheon, while research spinoffs include Konarka, a solar energy company that evolved out of UMass Lowell faculty research and is headquartered in Lowell and last year opened its manufacturing plant in New Bedford.

As research expenditures and funding have grown at the University of Massachusetts, so too has the income the University derives from faculty discoveries and products. UMass now ranks in the Top 15 nationally in generating licensing and royalty income from faculty inventions and discoveries. Annual intellectual property income has risen from $20 million in Fiscal Year 2003 to $73 million during Fiscal Year 2009.

"In Massachusetts, our greatest natural resource is our brainpower, and the University of Massachusetts is committed to making sure that knowledge, innovation and discovery are always driving the state forward and leading us to new opportunities and new prosperity," President Wilson said.

The Fiscal Year 2009 R&D Expenditures Report can be found at:

Contact: Robert P. Connolly, 617-548-0238


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Robert P. Connolly
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