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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University August 8, 2005 | Vol. 34 No. 41
JHU Is First in R&D Spending

NSF ranking puts Johns Hopkins at top for 25th year in a row

By Lisa De Nike

The Johns Hopkins University performed $1.24 billion in scientific, medical and engineering research in fiscal year 2003, making it — for the 25th year in a row — the country's leading academic institution in such expenditures, according to a new National Science Foundation ranking.

The university was also first on NSF's list of federally funded research expenditures, spending $1.107 billion in FY2003 on research funded by agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, NASA, NSF and the Department of Defense.

Johns Hopkins remains the only university ever to cross the $1 billion threshold on either list. It became the first to do so in FY2002, when it recorded $1.140 billion in total research and $1.023 billion in federally sponsored research.

Research funding at Johns Hopkins supports projects exploring everything from the genetic underpinnings of disease to robotics to the early history of the universe. Among the many advances reported by Johns Hopkins scientists in FY2003 were the use of stem cells to improve movement in paralyzed rats, the discovery of a massive gaseous cloud in the same orbit around Jupiter as the moon Europa and the creation of a form of pure copper metal six times stronger than normal.

Federal and other funding sources support research at the School of Medicine, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, Whiting School of Engineering, School of Nursing and Applied Physics Laboratory.

"Discoveries that expand knowledge, improve our world and help people are the primary focus of the medical, scientific and engineering research we do at Johns Hopkins," said William R. Brody, president of the university. "But there's a side effect of this research spending that should never be forgotten: We bring outside money into Maryland and spend much of it here, and that's a key to the strength of the state's economy."

The university, when taken in combination with its sister institution the Johns Hopkins Health System, is the state's largest employer, and many of its jobs are directly or indirectly related to research. The university's economic impact also includes purchases from local vendors and the use of its discoveries to promote private enterprise through the licensing of technology to new and existing businesses. In fiscal 2003, Johns Hopkins researchers applied for 541 patents and were granted 95. During that year, the university also concluded 159 licensing or option agreements with businesses.

Johns Hopkins has led the NSF's research expenditure rankings each year since 1979, when the agency's methodology was revised to include research spending by the Applied Physics Laboratory in the university's totals. In FY2003, the Howard County-based APL reported $607 million in total R&D expenditures, of which $582 million was federally funded.

On the FY2003 total research expenditure list, released in July, Johns Hopkins is followed by University of California, Los Angeles, which spent $849 million in research and development in FY2003. The University of Michigan (all campuses) ranked third, with $780 million in expenditures, followed by the University of Wisconsin, Madison, with $721 million. The University of Washington completed the top five with $685 million in research and development.

The total funding ranking includes not only research support from federal agencies but also support from foundations, corporations and other sources.


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