Acadiana Business

Business funding for research lands UL in top 10

by Leslie Turk

University among highest in country for its percentage of R&D expenditures funded by business. UL Lafayette is among the top 10 universities in the U.S. for its percentage of research and development expenditures funded by business, the university announced Monday.

The National Science Foundation's September 2013 report shows that businesses provided 19.3 percent of UL's total $69.9 million in research and development funding. Based on R&D expenditures in fiscal year 2011, the overall U.S. average was 4.9 percent.

UL was the only university on the Gulf Coast to make the top 10.

"This ranking is significant because it conveys the strong relationship that the university has with business and industry. It shows that companies support our researchers' work because it is valuable," UL President Dr. Joe Savoie said in announcing the ranking.

UL President Joe Savoie

Dr. Ramesh Kolluru, interim vice president for research at the university, said research is especially rewarding when it is used to help businesses find solutions to real-world problems.

"This makes UL Lafayette a go-to partner for business and industry," Kolluru said in the announcement. "While pushing the frontiers of basic science every day through their exemplary scholarship, our researchers are tremendously committed to applying their capabilities to provide solutions to problems. Our faculty live the research mission of the university, which states that UL Lafayette is 'Committed to Research for a Reason.'"

Kolluru said the university recognizes that federal and state governments' research funding is vulnerable when the national economy is unstable. "Universities cannot rely on government funding alone for research during times of national economic uncertainty," he noted. "So, while we continue to push to expand our federally funded R&D portfolio, it's healthier for our university to have a mix of public and private funding sources."

Businesses that partnered with UL in 2011 represented a range of fields, from pharmaceutical companies to energy, digital media, petrochemical and manufacturing.

The other nine of the top 10 universities in the U.S. with the highest percentage of research and development expenditures funded by business are:

Witchita State University
University of Tulsa
State University of New York, College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering
Columbia University, Teachers College
Ball State University
Mercer University
Colorado School of Mines
Duke University
Polytechnic Institute of New York University.

Clarkson University, Creighton University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology were ranked 11-13.

The NSF is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering.