University of Minnesota reaches record levels of research funding, expenditures

University seal

At its December meeting, the University of Minnesota Board of Regents will hear from Vice President for Research Christopher Cramer, who will report on the University’s research accomplishments in the past year. The presentation will highlight record research funding and expenditures.

The University’s research enterprise continues to grow and maintained its ranking of ninth among U.S. public research institutions, as measured by the National Science Foundation (NSF) based on annual research expenditures.

According to the NSF Higher Education Research and Development survey, which most recently detailed higher education institutions’ total research expenditures in fiscal year 2018, the University of Minnesota Twin Cities maintained its top-ten ranking with $955 million in research expenditures. Altogether, the University’s five campuses expended $982 million for research.

In the past fiscal year (2019), University researchers competed successfully for $863 million in external research funding, up 8.8 percent from the previous year.

The University licenses research to companies, which develop new products and services that benefit the public good, foster economic growth, and generate revenue to support the University’s mission. In fiscal 2019, U of M Technology Commercialization signed 223 new licensing deals and 103 Minnesota Innovation Partnership agreements. Its Venture Center launched a record 19 startup companies around University technologies and created the Discovery Launchpad incubator to foster startups’ early successes.

In the report, Cramer will also highlight the success of MnDRIVE, a landmark research partnership with the State of Minnesota that aligns University research strengths with key and emerging state industries. 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.

Students showcase projects made possible through University undergraduate research program

Between committee meetings on Thursday, Regents will meet with 10 undergraduate students participating in the University’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP). This session, held in the Heritage Gallery on McNamara’s ground floor, will include time for Regents to hear brief presentations from the students about their research and to talk with them over lunch.

UROP is one of many University programs that brings to life the idea that research is education, combining core tenets of the University’s mission. UROP provides all University undergraduates –regardless of college, major or discipline – the opportunity to work closely with a faculty member on a research, scholarly or creative project. Through UROP, students are provided a platform to explore academic and career interests, apply classroom learning to real-time research or prepare for a career or graduate school.

The Board is also expected to:

  • Discuss with President Joan Gabel examples of renaming principles and policy language from peer institutions to help set direction for future University policy considerations.
  • Hear from University Extension and 4-H regarding how these programs help build enrollment pipelines for University students.
  • Discuss reports on campus climate from the University’s Crookston, Duluth, Morris and Rochester campuses. The Board discussed campus climate on the Twin Cities campus at its October meeting.
  • Review plans related to real estate development on the East Bank of Twin Cities campus.
  • Review the 2019 University Performance and Accountability Report with President Gabel and Executive Vice President and Provost Karen Hanson.

For more information, including future meeting times, visit

Media Contacts

Jake Ricker
University Public Relations
Public Relations
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities