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Photo: Levi Hutmacher/Michigan Engineering
By Alex Piazza
Research expenditures at the University of Michigan reached a record high in Fiscal Year 2018, which helped spur advancements in a variety of areas ranging from mobility and opioid addiction to sustainability and the arts.
The volume of research at U-M totaled $1.55 billion in the fiscal year that spanned July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018. That marks a 4.4 percent increase from FY 2017.
“As credit to our innovative campus community and strong external collaboration, the University of Michigan has conducted the largest volume of research of any public university in the United States for eight consecutive years,” said S. Jack Hu, U-M vice president for research. “This type of support allows us to advance knowledge, solve challenging societal problems, create new products and services that enhance quality of life, and support students and postdoctoral fellows in research and training.”
The federal government remains an essential partner in the university’s research endeavors, covering 55 percent of the university’s total volume of research last year. Federal investment in FY 2018 totaled $852 million, which supports U-M research that strengthens national security, improves public health and bolsters economic competitiveness.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which includes the National Institutes of Health and is consistently the largest external sponsor of U-M research, awarded $579 million to U-M in FY 2018.
Research expenditures from internal sources also increased by 8 percent last year to $524 million. An increase in institutional funding stems partly from targeted research investments that address emerging challenges and opportunities in areas of broad potential impact.
“The continued growth of the research productivity of our faculty is important evidence of the amazing strength of the University of Michigan,” said university President Mark Schlissel. “I am proud that U-M research spans the breadth of our outstanding university and addresses many of society’s most pressing questions and challenges.”
Industry support also increased last year, as total research expenditures from industry sources reached a record high of $109 million — a 9 percent increase from FY 2017.
Research investment at U-M also culminates in the development of new products and services. In FY 2018, U-M researchers reported a record number of new inventions with 484 — the sixth straight year with more than 400.
The number of startups launched at U-M nearly doubled to 21 last year, and the Office of Technology Transfer also signed a record 218 license and option agreements with companies seeking to commercialize U-M discoveries.