Michigan Tech Sets New Record for Research Expenditures: $95.78M

Michigan Technological University projects a total of $95.78 million in research expenditures during fiscal year 2022, an increase of over 17% from the previous all-time high of $81.7 million recorded last year.

“For the first time in history, Michigan Tech will record more than $95 million in research expenditures,” said University President Rick Koubek. “This accomplishment reflects the hard work and dedication of our faculty and researchers and speaks to the intellectual prowess of our entire research community.”

This year’s significant increase is the latest in a long upward trend for the University, which has quadrupled its research expenditures over the last two decades. Dave Reed, vice president for research, said the pace puts the University on target to hit its goal of $200 million in research expenditures around 2035, some 10 years ahead of schedule.  

“Among Michigan’s 15 public universities, Tech is among the smallest in terms of total student enrollment, but we consistently rank in the top four for research expenditures,” said Reed. “Every year, the picture comes a bit more into focus, and more people see Michigan Tech as the flagship technological university that we are.” 

In addition to research expenditures, the amount of sponsored awards received also grew significantly, from $67.2 million in FY 2021 to a projected $79.1 million in FY 2022, an increase of nearly 18%. Reed noted that while the number of awards stayed about the same, the University’s average award amount saw a dramatic increase.

Of the sponsored awards, over 78% came from federal sources. Combined, the U.S. Department of Defense and the National Science Foundation account for over half of that share. Another 10% came from the National Institutes of Health — a low-single-digit contributor just five years ago. The increase is largely thanks to the Health Research Institute (HRI), founded by Tech researchers in 2019 to promote and advance transdisciplinary health-related research and education on campus. The HRI’s $3.9 million in research expenditures in FY 2022 is 217% more than in FY 2019. 

Reed said such growth demonstrates the need for — and fortuitous timing of — Michigan Tech’s new H-STEM Engineering and Health Technologies Complex, currently under construction and expected to be complete in early 2024. “It also reflects the synergies of interdisciplinary work,” said Reed, referring to MTU’s pioneer approach to research and education in recent years. From the Great Lakes Research Center to the Michigan Tech Research Institute, hubs where collaborative, transdisciplinary work is embedded into the model have seen significant upticks in both awards and expenditures.

Growth in Research Expenditures
Academic Research Centers and Institutes FY 2022 FY 2018 Growth
Michigan Tech Research Institute $12.0M $7.4M 62%
Keweenaw Research Center $8.9M $6.4M 22%
Great Lakes Research Center $7.1M $3.2M 121%
Advanced Power Systems Research Center $6.4M $5.6M 14%
Ecosystem Science Center $5.9M $3.8M 55%
Health Research Institute $3.9M $1.2M* 225%
Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences Institute $3.3M $1.9M 74%
Institute of Computing and Cybersystems $2.9M $1.9M 53%
Center for Technology and Training $2.8M $1.7M 65%
Research and Innovation in STEM Education Institute $1.4M $168K 733%
Elizabeth and Richard Henes Center for Quantum Phenomena $569K $283K 101%
* FY 2019

“The support provided to the researchers by the centers and institutes and the team approach embraced by the researchers have both contributed to the growth we see in the numbers,” said Reed. 

But numbers aren’t everything, even when the numbers are good. 

“It’s tempting to look at dollars as the primary metric of success,” said Reed. “The real outputs, though, are the new knowledge gained, the new discoveries made, the students who graduate having worked on these research projects and the economic impacts of this work in the local community and in the world. It’s easy to lose sight of that, but in the end, that’s why we do what we do.”

Michigan Technological University is a public research university founded in 1885 in Houghton, Michigan, and is home to more than 7,000 students from 55 countries around the world. Consistently ranked among the best universities in the country for return on investment, Michigan’s flagship technological university offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, computing, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, social sciences, and the arts. The rural campus is situated just miles from Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, offering year-round opportunities for outdoor adventure.

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