ASU Climbs in National Research Rankings, as Measured by Non-Medical School Expenditures

Arizona State University

Building on nearly two decades of unparalleled advancement, Arizona State University moved up to sixth out of 759 universities in the nation for total research expenditures among universities without a medical school, according to the latest National Science Foundation (NSF) Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) rankings.

With a total of $639.6 million in expenditures in fiscal year 2019, an increase of nearly $22 million from the previous year, ASU research has continued an upward trend and is among the leaders in research. At number six, ASU ranks alongside MIT, University of California-Berkeley, Georgia Tech and Purdue University and ahead of Carnegie Mellon University, Princeton and the University of Georgia. Since 2002, ASU research expenditures have grown more than five-fold, going from $123 million to nearly $640 million today.

In the most recent HERD rankings, ASU placed number 26 overall among public institutions (of 405 total) in research expenditures putting it alongside the University of Texas-Austin, Purdue University, Michigan State University and the University of Arizona and ahead of the University of Virginia, University of Alabama, University of Iowa and North Carolina State University.

ASU ranked number 43 for all universities nationwide (of 916 total) with or without a medical school in FY19 placing it alongside the University of Illinois, the University of Texas-Austin, Purdue University, Michigan State University and ahead of the University of Chicago, California Institute of Technology and Princeton University.

Federal agencies, led by NASA and including NSF, Health and Human Services, the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense have invested substantial research dollars in ASU, along with investment from businesses, non-profits, philanthropic sources as well as state and local grants.

Each year through the HERD survey, the NSF updates its list of where the money for research is going. It’s a way to look under the hood of the machinery of a university to see how well the engines that power research are running. ASU’s rise in the HERD survey underscores its strength in research funding – and the confidence that major agencies and others have in ASU research.

“Research is a critical component of how we address the grand challenges we are collectively facing in today’s world,” said Sally C. Morton, executive vice president of ASU’s Knowledge Enterprise. “We must encourage, support and rely on solid scientific insights to help us persevere. I am confident we have the capabilities to discover impactful solutions to pandemics, climate change, cybersecurity and emerging health issues – all of which will challenge humankind well into the future. Through the transdisciplinary approach of talented ASU faculty and researchers, we are well-positioned to take on these challenges and work together to create a better future.”

With gains in expenditures, the university continue to rise in the ranks of numerous specific categories. In the FY19 report, for example, ASU:

  • Ranked number one (of 353 universities) in geological and Earth sciences, ahead of MIT and the University of Michigan;
  • Maintained the top spot (of 242 universities) in anthropology, ahead of Stanford and Harvard;
  • Moved to number one (of 247 universities) in transdisciplinary, multidisciplinary and other sciences, ahead of Johns Hopkins, Northwestern and Ohio State University;
  • Ranked number four (of 487 universities) in social sciences, putting it alongside Harvard and the University of Michigan and ahead of University of Pennsylvania and UCLA;
  • Ranked number four (of 377 universities) in business management and business administration, putting it alongside the University of Pennsylvania and MIT and ahead of the University of Chicago, Columbia University and Georgetown University;
  • Ranked number 11 (of 430 universities) in psychology, alongside Stanford and the University of Michigan and ahead of University of California-Berkeley, Cornell University and the University of Arizona;
  • Ranked number 12 (of 289 universities) in electrical, electronic and communications engineering placing it with MIT, the University of Texas-Austin and Purdue and ahead of Stanford, Carnegie Mellon and the University of Washington.
  • Ranked number 14 (of 266 universities) in civil engineering putting it alongside Georgia Tech, the University of Washington and the University of Michigan and ahead of MIT and the University of Illinois.

Funding agencies have increased investment of research dollars in ASU, resulting in additional advancement in rankings. ASU is ranked:

  • Is third (out of 441 universities) in NASA funding, placing it with Johns Hopkins University and the University of Colorado-Boulder and ahead of the California Institute of Technology, the University of Arizona and the University of Maryland.
  • Is number 10 (out of 415 universities) in Health and Human Services funding (including the National Institutes of Health) for universities without a medical school, putting in alongside Rockefeller University, the California Institute of Technology and the University of Georgia, and ahead of the University of Colorado-Boulder, Purdue and the University of Oregon.
  • Is ranked number 23 (out of 604 universities) in NSF funding, placing it with the University of California-Berkeley, UCLA and the University of Minnesota and ahead of Johns Hopkins University, the University of Chicago and the University of Arizona.

Arizona State University has developed a new model for the American Research University, creating an institution that is committed to access, excellence and impact. ASU measures itself by those it includes, not by those it excludes. As the prototype for a New American University, ASU pursues research that contributes to the public good, and ASU assumes major responsibility for the economic, social and cultural vitality of the communities that surround it.

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