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U Reaches Record Levels of Research Funding, Expenditures

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The University of Minnesota continues to steadily grow its research activities, maintaining its rank among the nation’s top 10 public research universities.

The 2019 Annual Report on University research and technology commercialization, released today by the U’s Office of the Vice President for Research, details research metrics for the 2019 fiscal year, along with trends in research productivity, scholarship, and technology commercialization.

Here are five highlights from this year’s report:

1) Highest External Awards Total to Date

University researchers successfully competed for $863 million in external research funding in fiscal 2019— the highest amount to date and a growth of 8.8 percent over the previous year.

The growth of the external research portfolio included an 8.8 percent increase in funding from federal agencies and a 25.4 percent increase in funding from businesses and industry.

2) Research Expenditures Keep U in Top 10

With $955 million in research expenditures, the U’s Twin Cities campus maintained its ranking of ninth among US public research universities, according to the National Science Foundation’s Higher Education Research and Development survey. The survey is based on research expenditures (the total amount, from both internal and external sources, that an institution spent on research in a previous fiscal year) from fiscal 2018, the most recent data available.

Altogether, the U’s five campuses spent a total of $982 million on research, the highest amount to date.

3) Technology Transfer Continues Strong Growth

The University licenses discoveries to companies that will develop new products and services around them. In moving technologies beyond the lab, the U helps ensure research benefits the public good, fosters economic growth, and generates revenue to support its mission.

In fiscal 2019, UMN Technology Commercialization signed 223 new licensing deals and 103 new Minnesota Innovation Partnership agreements with industry. The office’s work help builds positive relationships with the private sector, deepens the University’s public impact, and channels entrepreneurialism into academia.

4) Record Number of Startups Launched

The U’s Venture Center, part of UMN Technology Commercialization, launched a record 19 startup companies in fiscal 2019 to bring University technologies to market in fields ranging from medical devices to educational technology. In early 2019, the Venture Center created the Discovery Launchpad incubator program to foster success among participating startups through expert coaching and support.

Between 2017 and 2019, eight UMN startups either were purchased or went public—five of them in fiscal 2019 alone. These successful exits demonstrate the significant potential that established companies and investors see in UMN technologies.

5) MnDRIVE Leverages State Investment for Additional Funding

MnDRIVE, a landmark research partnership with the state of Minnesota that aligns University research strengths with key and emerging state industries, continues to fuel research into some of the greatest challenges now facing Minnesotans.

During the program’s first five years, MnDRIVE-supported researchers leveraged $97 million in state investment to garner an additional $360 million in external funding.

In fiscal 2019, MnDRIVE’s sixth year of funding, researchers involved in MnDRIVE work disclosed 59 inventions for patents or licensing and competed successfully for more than $86 million in funding from external sources, such as the National Institutes of Health, Medtronic, Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council, and Bluebird Bio.

Read more from the 2019 Annual Report.

Kevin Coss

Kevin Coss

Kevin is a communications specialist with the Office of the Vice President for Research.

coss@umn.edu

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