According to a press release from UGA Media Relations, the University of Georgia has announced that it spent $545.6 million on research and development in fiscal year 2022. That’s a 10% jump from last year, and the university surpassed half a billion for the first time.
It’s also the first time since fiscal 2017 that R&D spending has increased by more than 10% in a single year. The $51.7 million increase in one year is the largest in recent history, the press release said.
“I am incredibly proud of this achievement and the extension of UGA’s positive impact that it represents,” said UGA President Jere Morehead in the press release. “I am especially grateful for the support of our industry and government partners, the generosity of private donors, and the extraordinary work of our faculty to make this possible.”
According to the press release, UGA’s annual R&D spending has grown nearly 58% over the past nine years.
Sponsored funding from key sources increased in fiscal 2022, including Department of Defense up 39.7%, Department of Agriculture up 32.8%, National Science Foundation up 28.7%, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention up 15.2% .
“Reaching this milestone is a testament to our faculty and its innovative cutting-edge research that promises solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges,” said S. Jack Hu, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, in the press release.
In 2019, Hu established an academic excellence task force to identify UGA’s research strengths that “are expected to bring tangible benefits to Georgia and beyond.” The group identified specific areas including safety, environmental science, brain and behavioral health, and integrative precision agriculture. According to the press release, UGA has since launched hiring initiatives aimed at strengthening these areas.
Through the initiative, UGA created a new center for brain research and neurodegenerative diseases and secured $5 million in federal funding to support the center. Anumantha Kanthasamy, the first John H. “Johnny” Isakson Chair and distinguished Georgia Research Alliance scientist in Parkinson’s research, directs the center and has continued to secure funds to fight Parkinson’s disease.
Another new hire, Georgia Research Alliance distinguished scholar Robin Buell, who works in the field of plant genomics, recently received a five-year, $15.8 million award from the US Department of Energy. The Buell team is working to use poplars as a sustainable energy source and to produce biomaterials and bioproducts that do not rely on petroleum, the press release said.
“These numbers show that the strategic investments UGA has made in our research company continue to pay off, with the society and citizens of Georgia being the ultimate beneficiaries of the new knowledge, new products and technologies and the resulting new health actions,” Karen Burg, vice president of research, said in the press release.
Based on FY2021 R&D spending of $493.9 million, UGA also now ranks 57th nationwide in the National Science Foundation’s most recent annual survey of higher education research and development, according to the press release.