UM Sets Record for Research Activity

Research activity at UM has grown substantially in recent years.

MISSOULA – The University of Montana has set a new record for research expenditures, exceeding $100 million for the first time in its history.

Research activity at UM has grown substantially in recent years. This fiscal year, UM reported $104.7 million in research expenditures to the National Science Foundation’s Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) survey. This is a 16% increase over the previous high of $90.6 million in FY2018 and a 90% increase from FY2014.

“This continued rise in the amount of funded research at UM is a testament to the hard work of our faculty, staff and students,” said Scott Whittenburg, UM vice president for research and creative scholarship and dean of the Graduate School. “These numbers indicate that UM continues on the path to achieve a Carnegie Research Very-High Activity or R1 ranking. The funding also underscore how research at UM provides an economic engine for the community and state.”

The research funding comes from a broad portfolio of sources, Whittenburg noted, including federal research grants and contracts. For example, $28.1 million came from the National Institutes of Health, $10.5 million from the National Science Foundation, $6.5 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, $2.5 million from NASA, $2.3 million from the U.S. Department of Defense and about $6 million from other agencies.  

The broad and diverse set of disciplines spanning life science research at UM accounted for $40 million of the overall amount, including cutting-edge multidisciplinary research in health sciences, biological and biomedical sciences and natural resources and conservation. Other research areas with significant federal funding were mathematical and physical sciences (including psychology) at $6.8 million; geosciences, earth and marine sciences and oceanography with $3 million; social sciences with $2 million; and computer sciences and engineering with $1 million.

“We continue to see our faculty ranked among the top research institutions in the country,” Whittenburg said. “With a record amount of grants and contracts awarded to UM in the past year, these researchers will continue to grow UM’s reputation as a world-class research university with thriving graduate and professional programs.”