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Posted on Tue, Sep 20, 2011 : 12:29 p.m.

University of Michigan research funding soars to $1.24 billion - and new record

By Kellie Woodhouse

Research spending at the University of Michigan last year grew to $1.236 billion, the highest level in university history.

The $97 million —or 8.5 percent— increase from $1.139 billion the previous year is due in part to a major boost in funding from the National Institutes of Health, U-M said Tuesday.

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NIH increased U-M's funding by $70 million during the 2011 fiscal year, raising it to a record $571 million. NIH funds 46.2 percent of research at U-M.

U-M Vice President for Research Stephen R. Forrest praised the increase in a release issued today.

"This continued growth in funding shows the commitment of the federal government, industry, and other sponsors to investing in the future,” he said.

U-M first broke the $1 billion mark during fiscal 2009, when research funding totaled $1.016 billion, a 12 percent increase from $929 million in fiscal 2008.

In September 2010, The National Science Foundation ranked U-M first among public universities in research and development spending.

Federal spending, which accounts for two-thirds of U-M research dollars, grew 9.8 percent last year.

Aside from NIH, significant increases in federal funding were:

  • A 30 percent increase from the Department of Energy, climbing to $35.4 million in fiscal 2011 from $27.1 million during fiscal 2010 and accounting for nearly 3 percent of U-M’s research budget.
  • Funding from the Department of Commerce increased by 13.7 percent, rising to $10.8 million from about $9.5 million.
  • Funding from the Environmental Protection Agency increased by about $1.6 million—or 81 percent— to $3.57 million last year from $2 million during fiscal 2010.

Significant decreases in federal funding include:

  • A 6.5 percent decrease in funding from NASA. The $16.4 million awarded by NASA in fiscal 2010 decreased by $1.1 million this year.
  • Funding from the Department of Defense decreased by 4.9 percent, or about $3 million. Last year, U-M received $62.7 million in DOD funding, down from nearly $66 million the previous year.
  • U-M received about $3.8 million less from the Department of Transportation, representing a 25 percent decrease from fiscal 2010 levels of $10.5 million.

Private funding, which accounts for one-third of U-M’s research spending, increased by 8.6 percent last year.

Endowment, financial gifts and industry grants account for much of that increase. However, funding from foundations did decrease by $3.4 million, or 13.6 percent.

Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.



Wed, Sep 21, 2011 : 1:28 a.m.

1.24 billion? Probably there is no need for more giddy articles about company X moving downtown and hiring 8 people.


Tue, Sep 20, 2011 : 10:06 p.m.

Borrowed Government money.


Wed, Sep 21, 2011 : 1:15 p.m.

Of course, but the point is mute, there would simply be a similar situation with different company names if the seeds of history were different! BTW: 1) the integrated circuit is not the result of US government funding 2) the internet is the defacto standard because it was the first medium to the table; certainly you can't believe that the world would not have developed ubiquitous communication even if ARPA never existed? 3) the discoveries you speak of are decades old; when was the last time any of these companies needed 1.2 billion from the government to continue on their fast pace of technology improvements?


Wed, Sep 21, 2011 : 1:41 a.m.

FredMax, neither Apple, nor Intel nor Microsoft, nor Google would exist without federal funding for solid state physics that led to the transistor and the microchip, or DoD funding for the Internet, or CERN for HTML and the Web.


Wed, Sep 21, 2011 : 1:36 a.m.

huh? My cell phone is as small as a credit card and has more intelligence than a jet fighter from 10 years ago, and your claim is that we need government funding to progress in science? Apple, Intel, Microsoft, Google, ...


Tue, Sep 20, 2011 : 10:14 p.m.

That would go otherwise to Harvard, Stanford, etc. if we didn't have competetive faculty and research infrastructure here. To train graduate (and even some undergraduate) students and the next generation of productive scientists, physicians, and engineers here in Michigan, and generate intellectual property here. Some of which will stay here. Or, if you object to government spending on the sciences in general, where do you think the underlying science that is behind the next generation of drugs or new technologies is coming from? Certainly not from the private sector that's focused on quarterly profits - organizations like Bell Labs have become a distant memory of times past.


Tue, Sep 20, 2011 : 9:21 p.m.

Research funding cannot be used for raises. Often people do not understand that a lot of the money the university deals with has restricitons and can only be used for certain things.


Tue, Sep 20, 2011 : 7:48 p.m.

Record level of research funding in a very difficult environment, three MacArthur Fellowship winners today, a Brilliant Ten winner a few days ago... Maybe someone is doing something right, for a change?


Tue, Sep 20, 2011 : 6:45 p.m.

2% raises