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The University of Minnesota’s research enterprise continues to grow, driven by greater diversification of funding sources and enhanced public-private partnership.
On Dec. 9, 2016, Vice President for Research Brian Herman delivered his State of Research report to the Board of Regents presenting performance measures for fiscal year 2016, trends in research productivity, including technology commercialization, and the U’s performance compared to other research universities.
In fiscal year 2016, faculty and staff competed successfully for a record $788 million in externally sponsored research funding, up $13 million (4.5 percent) from FY2015 and a record amount, when excluding one-time federal stimulus funds.
While federal funding stayed relatively flat from FY2015 to FY2016 (up 0.6 percent), the University’s research portfolio continued a decade-long trend of diversifying its funding sources, with non-federal sources increasing their share of the awards pie.
Among nonfederal sources, business and industry funding grew 3.6 percent to $80.8 million, on top of last year’s 40 percent increase. Success with business and industry funding, which now accounts for 10 percent of all awards, aligned with three significant public-private partnership strategies: the MnDRIVE partnership with the state, the Minnesota Innovation Partnerships (MN-IP) program for licensing technology and the Corporate Engagement Workgroup, which manages and coordinates relationships with companies across the University’s many colleges and units.
According to the latest data from the National Science Foundation’s Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) Survey, the U of M maintained its rank of eighth among public research institutions in FY2015, posting over $880 million in research expenditures. The U remains ranked third in expenditures among Big Ten institutions.
The University’s Office for Technology Commercialization launched a record 17 startup companies in 2016, and passed a milestone of 100 startups launched since 2006. (See OTC Annual Report for more highlights.)
The Office of University Economic Development launched a three-year strategic action plan to expedite accesses to U of M resources, act statewide, in both greater Minnesota and the Minneapolis-St. Paul region, and catalyze economic development through increased partnerships. One new offering, the Economic Development Fellows Consulting Program, connects local businesses with graduate and professional student volunteers who provide business consulting services for participating companies.