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UF research spending hit new high in 2019

The university spent nearly $929 million on research last year.

The University of Florida spent nearly $929 million on research last year, according to a new report from the National Science Foundation.

The 2019 figure marks a 7.3% increase year-over-year and is a record for the state’s flagship university.

“UF’s faculty continue to excel at winning competitive research funding to conduct cutting-edge science and scholarship across a wide array of disciplines, from health and agriculture to engineering, the basic sciences and the humanities,” David Norton, UF’s vice president for research, said in a news release.

“The steady growth in UF’s research enterprise has contributed significantly to the university’s reputation as a top public institution, and it has had a huge economic impact on the state.”

Part of the growth over 2018 spending, which measured in at $865.1 million, came via a $32.4 million increase in spending on projects supported by the federal government. Federal projects accounted for $388 million of UF’s overall research spending last year.

State and local expenditures were down slightly, but spending on industry and nonprofit projects were both up.

“Our faculty and staff continue to drive our research enterprise to new heights in an incredibly competitive environment, and we couldn’t be prouder of their amazing work and accomplishments in so many important fields,” UF President Kent Fuchs said.

“Not only are they solving the problems of today, but they are providing our students with the education and experience to address the challenges of tomorrow.”

Life sciences research — including health and agriculture — totaled $689.6 million, up $33.3 million, or 5.1%, over 2018. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, including the National Institutes of Health, is UF’s largest funding source, followed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Engineering and computer sciences accounted for $121.2 million, while earth and physical sciences — such as geology, astronomy, chemistry and physics — and mathematics accounted for $45.8 million. Psychology, the social sciences and humanities accounted for the balance of the funding.

NSF collects expenditure data from universities around the country and compiles it into a report that will be released later this year. Last year, based on fiscal year 2018 data, UF ranked 15th among public universities in research expenditures.

The research spending announcement follows UF’s ascent in U.S. News and World Report college rankings. Last year, the publication named UF the No. 34 overall, tied with the University of California-Santa Barbara. The report also listed UF as the No. 7 public school in the nation.

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