UArizona Research Again Ranks Among Nation’s Top Public Universities

The University of Arizona is once again among the nation’s top public research universities with $761 million in total research activity in fiscal year 2020, according to data released December 27, 2021 by the National Science Foundation.

The NSF’s Higher Education Research and Development survey annually ranks more than 900 colleges and universities and is considered the primary source of information on research and development expenditures at U.S. colleges and universities.

UArizona saw an increase of more than $27 million over its FY 2019 total. The university’s R&D expenditures rank No. 20 among public institutions and No. 35 overall. This ranking places UArizona in the top 4% of all U.S. universities, both public and private. The university also retained its No. 1 ranking in astronomy and astrophysics expenditures at nearly $122 million – an increase of more than $8 million over FY 2019.

“The University of Arizona takes immense pride in its continued ability to develop incredible cutting-edge research initiatives,” said University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins. “From exploring the outermost edges of our solar system to creating numerous life-saving technologies amid the COVID-19 pandemic, University of Arizona researchers consistently lead the way in fundamental discovery and generate innovative solutions to our world’s most significant challenges.”

The HERD survey also ranked UArizona second among schools with high Hispanic enrollment. In 2018, the university earned the designation of Hispanic-Serving Institution from the U.S. Department of Education for its success in the enrollment of Hispanic students.

The University of Arizona ranked fifth in both the physical sciences and NASA-funded activity. UArizona led the design and development of the Near-Infrared Camera onboard the James Webb Space Telescope, which was successfully launched Dec. 25.

In the engineering category, UArizona advanced from No. 51 in FY 2019 to No. 47 in FY 2020. In the health sciences, total and federally funded awards increased from $249 million in FY 2019 to $264 million in FY 2020, though expenditures dropped due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“The latest HERD data demonstrate the robustness and continual growth of our research enterprise, despite challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic that took hold in early 2020,” said Elizabeth “Betsy” Cantwell, senior vice president for research and innovation. “At the heart of this success are our faculty and researchers, whose creativity and determination drive discovery and innovation, creating positive real-world impacts and knowledge for a more resilient future.”

UArizona’s top rankings came in the following categories:

  • No. 1: Astronomy and astrophysics
  • No. 2: High Hispanic enrollment
  • No. 5: Physical sciences
  • No. 5: NASA-funded activity
  • No. 20: All public universities
  • No. 35: All universities

The University of Arizona also earned top 50 placements in the following research categories:

  • No. 21: Biological and biomedical sciences
  • No. 26: Department of Agriculture expenditures
  • No. 29: Agricultural sciences, natural resources and conservation
  • No. 29: Geosciences, atmospheric sciences and ocean sciences
  • No. 32: National Science Foundation expenditures
  • No. 35: Science and engineering fields
  • No. 39: Social sciences
  • No. 39: Life sciences
  • No. 39: Chemistry
  • No. 45: Computer and information sciences
  • No. 47: Engineering
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