UB ranks among nation’s top 60 universities for R&D

UB researcher Elizabeth Thomas places vials into a machine.

Elizabeth Thomas, PhD, University at Buffalo assistant professor of geology, studies the history of precipitation in areas that include the Arctic and the Great Lakes region. She is among UB researchers whose work could improve our understanding of the impacts of climate change. Credit: Meredith Forrest Kulwicki / University at Buffalo

Among public universities, UB is No. 39 nationally and No. 1 statewide

Release Date: December 5, 2018

“The continued expansion of our research activity drives innovation and enables UB to address challenges across society while also strengthening our region's economy. ”
Venu Govindaraju, vice president for research and economic development
University at Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The University at Buffalo ranks 59th among U.S. universities for research and development (R&D) activity, according to new data from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Among the nation’s public universities, UB ranked 39th and is the highest-ranked public university in New York State.

UB’s annual research expenditures topped $400 million for the first time in the 2016-17 fiscal year, totaling $401,591,000 according to the NSF’s Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) Survey.

Research activity has increased significantly at UB over the past decade, with annual expenditures rising by more than $60 million since 2007-08. (Less than $340 million was spent that fiscal year.)

The report, released on Nov. 20, measures R&D spending at the nation’s universities. The data includes funding awarded to researchers by external sources, such as the NSF and National Institutes of Health, as well as institutional spending on research.

“The university is pleased to have attained this ranking and we expect to continue growing our research expenditures well beyond the $400 million mark,” said Venu Govindaraju, PhD, vice president for research and economic development at UB. “The continued expansion of our research activity drives innovation and enables UB to address challenges across society while also strengthening our region's economy.”

UB’s growing R&D activity benefits Western New York by creating and supporting jobs for highly skilled workers in fields that range from medicine and the life sciences to law and the humanities, and by increasing demand for goods and services, many of which are purchased locally. In addition, as funding for clinical trials goes up, more patients in the Buffalo Niagara area are getting the chance to enroll and gain access to new, exciting and potentially breakthrough treatments.

Research at UB also enables students to gain valuable experience, working alongside faculty on cutting-edge projects that address some of society’s most pressing problems.

Close to home, UB investigators are studying topics such as pollution in the Great Lakes and urban development in cities that have lost population in recent decades.

Nationally and globally, they are engaged in the study of climate change, disaster resilience, drug and alcohol addiction, trauma, human rights, immigration and much more. They are conducting research that could lead to better treatment avenues for diseases ranging from obesity and diabetes to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. They are also doing groundbreaking work in basic science and in the humanities.

According to the NSF report, UB’s spending in science and engineering, including social sciences, totaled over $386 million in the 2016-17 fiscal year. Nearly $94 million was spent on engineering research and over $16 million on computer and information science, leading UB to be ranked 30th and 29th, respectively, among U.S. universities for research activity in those areas.

Expenditures in non-science fields such as education, humanities, law and the arts totaled more than $15 million.

According to the NSF survey, data “were collected from a census of 903 universities and colleges that grant a bachelor's degree or higher and expended at least $150,000 in R&D” during the 2016-17 fiscal year.


Media Contact Information

Charlotte Hsu is a former staff writer in University Communications. To contact UB's media relations staff, email ub-news@buffalo.edu or visit our list of current university media contacts.