University of Arkansas continues to boost research spending

by Jennifer Joyner ([email protected]) 207 views 

The University of Arkansas raised its research expenditures by 41% during the past five years, according to a report from the Arkansas Department of Higher Education.

In the 2011-12 school year, research comprised 4.9% of overall expenditures at the university. Now, in 2016-17, it’s 6.9%.

The rise in spending came during a time when many spending categories were cut. For example, operations and maintenance expenses were down 27.6%, public service was down 21.3% and institutional support was down 14.5%, according to the ADHE.

Amy Schlesing, director of strategic communications at the UA, said the numbers seem to reflect an ongoing rise in federal grant money for research, although they did not match the figures the UA had on file. Last year, 2015-16, the school received $102 million in research funding, compared to $80 million the previous year, according to the UA’s annual financial report.

That brought research spending up to $145 million in 2015-16, up from about $123 million in 2011-12. That includes about $5 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or the economic stimulus bill of 2009.

In fact, university research spending has increased 150% during the past decade, according to its report.

In 2015-16, for example, the U.S. Department of Energy donated $12.2 million for the UA to establish a cybersecurity center for the nation’s power grid, and the UA conducted National Science Foundation-funded research in the fields of nanotechnology, renewable energy, surface engineering, power electronics and data privacy.

The U.S. Department of Education awarded $10 million to Arkansas PROMISE, designed to improve education and employment opportunities for teenagers with disabilities.

UA programs also received grant money from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institutes of Health and NASA.

This school year, $1,007 of full-time students’ $14,587 annual tuition will go to research, according to the ADHE.