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University of Massachusetts Trustee Committee Reviews University R&D, Research Expenditures Top $400 Million For First Time, Growth Above National Average

BOSTON - Tuesday, November 20, 2007- The University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees Committee on Science, Technology & Research today reviewed the latest available UMass Research and Development expenditures data which totaled $404 million across all five University campuses and topped $400 million for the first time.

The committee also noted that the University of Massachusetts is the third largest academic research institution in Massachusetts and the fourth largest in New England. The University's total R&D expenditures in Fiscal Year 2006 grew by about $27 million or 7.2 percent over its Fiscal Year 2005 expenditures, as compared to a NSF average of academic R& D expenditure growth of 4.3 percent over the same period.

"The University of Massachusetts fuels the Commonwealth's innovation economy in every region of the state. The benefits of our research portfolio are two-fold because UMass research also fosters new modes of teaching and preparing students to participate in our global knowledge economy and it yields inventions such as therapeutic drugs and clean energy technologies, that make a difference in the lives of people across the state and around the globe. Today's discussion is part of charting the strategic course for future growth," said Jack M. Wilson, President of the University of Massachusetts.

At the meeting, the need to continue to attract and retain top faculty, invest in infrastructure and collaborate to compete for top grants were all discussed as strategies to expand the University's research agenda. In addition, enhancing student opportunities for undergraduate and graduate student research was identified as a priority.

At $243 million, life sciences constitute approximately 60 percent of the University's total R&D expenditures in Fiscal Year 2006 across all five campuses, followed by physical sciences and engineering at 20 percent; mathematical and computer sciences at 6 percent; environmental sciences at 5 percent; social sciences at 4 percent; non sciences/engineering at 2 percent; psychology at 2 percent; and other sciences at 1 percent.

By University estimates, clean energy is also a key area of UMass research estimated at $18 million in research awards in Fiscal Year 2006; however, it is not identified separately in National Science Foundation (NSF) data by field. A representative of the University's Clean Energy Working Group today presented information about its inventory of clean energy research and strategic planning discussions that involve representatives from across UMass campuses.

Also at the meeting, the chief research officers from each UMass campus reported on campus research activity. The Fiscal Year 2006 NSF data include campus-specific information about the distribution of research expenditures by field. The following were the NSF expenditure totals and top fields across each campus:

  • UMass Amherst: total $140,184,000- life sciences (32%); physical sciences (21%); engineering (20%); computer sciences (12%)
  • UMass Boston: total $22,347,000-social sciences (45%); life sciences (12%); environmental sciences (10%); psychology (8%)
  • UMass Dartmouth: total $20, 389,000-environmental sciences (45%); engineering (25%); physical sciences (7%); life sciences (6%)
  • UMass Lowell: total $29,383,000-engineering (29%); physical sciences (26%); life sciences (14%); environmental sciences (14%)
  • UMass Medical School: total $191,659,000- life sciences (100%)

The NSF data is as reported to NSF for its annual, national report of academic research and development expenditures. NSF issued its latest data, covering Fiscal Year 2006, on November 16, 2007 in report #NSF08-3000.

The University's Board of Trustee Committees on Academic and Student Affairs and Advancement also met today.

Robert P. Connolly

Libby DeVecchi


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