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UVA advances in national research rankings

Investments in research administration infrastructure are paying off as UVA moves up in the National Science Foundation's 2016 Higher Education Research & Development (HERD) Survey results.

The latest HERD Survey results show a UVA progression from 62nd to 56th place in overall research and development (R&D) expenditures and from 60th to 58th place in federal R&D expenditures. These gains are a favorable indicator of the impact of UVA's new Cornerstone Plan and significant investments in research and research infrastructure over the last several years. 

"A six-spot jump is difficult to achieve and is particularly notable for UVA," says Elizabeth Adams, Assistant Vice President for Research Administration. "We have been on a steep and sustained climb in terms of institutional research spending for three years in a row, and are presently at levels of Stimulus-driven research activity/spending at UVA. Much of this recent growth is due to the diversification of our research funding portfolio/partnerships with non-federal collaborators, as well as internal investments. We expect that FY17 data will continue this remarkable trend."

In 2015, the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) initiated a major infrastructure and process improvement effort to serve as a foundation for the new strategic plan at UVA. An award of $3 million from UVA's Strategic Investment Fund then made it possible to expand the original electronic records project to begin building an enterprise-wide research information management system known as ResearchUVA. Today, 100% of new proposals are routed through ResearchUVA's electronic Proposal Routing Form and ResearchUVA's analytics dashboard Juice makes it possible for anyone in the UVA community to see near real-time data about UVA's proposal, award, and expenditure activity.

"This is great news for UVA, and is the result of continued strategic investments in people, process, and infrastructure at UVA," says Vice President for Research Melur K. (Ram) Ramasubramanian. "Guided by the Cornerstone Strategic plan, the following elements can be identified as significant contributors: hiring distinguished faculty and junior faculty with high potential in strategic areas, strategic allocation of SIF funding for research and research infrastructure which includes ResearchUVA  aimed at providing a high level of administrative support for researchers, and ResearchNET that is intended to proactively build and support teams for competing in large-scale federal funding. Overall, a compelling and clear messaging from the leadership team that excellence in research is critical to the future of UVA. The trajectory for UVA is up and more great things to come in the future."

The FY17 HERD survey is currently underway and is scheduled to finish at the end of January 2018. An early look at the data suggests that UVA's R&D expenditures will once again rise.

All R&D expenditures

Federal R&D expenditures

Highlights of FY16 areas of growth at UVA

  • The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders & Stroke provided support to Jaideep Kapur, Director of the new UVA Brain Institute, a major priority of the University's strategic plan. The new institute draws upon talented faculty and students and recent cluster hires in the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, the Curry School of Education, the School of Medicine, the School of Engineering and Applied Science and the Data Science Institute – to all work as colleagues on developing better methods for understanding the multi-faceted brain, to seek new ways to prevent, treat and cure brain diseases and injury, and to teach about what is learned.

  • The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation provided support to Eric Houpt, the Jack Gwaltney Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases and International Health, for continued work in infectious disease. Dr. Houpt’s work focuses on molecular diagnostic tools for infectious diseases at a global scale.