The University of Michigan reported a record $1.86 billion in research volume during fiscal year 2023, which led to critical advancements in diverse areas ranging from artificial intelligence and global infectious disease to microelectronics and social justice.
Total research expenditures, which increased by 8.1% when compared with FY ’22, are an important metric used by peer institutions to measure research and creative practice activity. For more than a decade, U-M has ranked among the nation’s leading public universities in terms of research volume.
“We are, first and foremost, a public research university, and so we have a unique responsibility to apply our experience and expertise to find solutions to the toughest challenges facing communities across Michigan and beyond,” said Rebecca Cunningham, vice president for research and innovation.
“Our university community has exhibited tremendous resiliency time and time again, and their commitment to consistently push the boundaries of research and creative practice, while embracing rapid transformation, will allow us to collectively solve the problems of tomorrow.”
The federal government remains the largest sponsor of U-M research activity, and during FY ’23, the university reported more than $1 billion in federally sponsored research expenditures. This accounts for 56% of the university’s total research volume.
Research expenditures sponsored by the National Institutes of Health totaled $683 million last year, and that support allows U-M faculty to advance projects designed to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability. U-M faculty are leading more than 2,700 active research projects sponsored by NIH, and funding from the federal agency supports more than 4,100 faculty members, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students.
Increased internal investments also played a key role in accelerating U-M research activity during FY ’23. The university reported a record $603 million in internally sponsored research expenditures — a 9.1% increase when compared with FY ’22 — which helped fund enhancements to research-related infrastructure and equipment.
Internal investments also aided in the development of several multidisciplinary research initiatives and institutes, including a new program designed to enhance inclusion and equity across the biomedical and health sciences community.
The Office of the Vice President for Research awarded a series of block grants during FY ’23 to support arts and humanities activity, including three fieldwork projects that explore the intersections of music and politics in Uganda, Kenya and Ghana.
President Santa J. Ono also launched a universitywide strategy to amplify research and scholarship, which has bolstered resources and personnel to support faculty so they can pursue innovative projects and enhance equitable outcomes.
“The University of Michigan was envisioned as America’s first true research university, and I could not be more excited to see us strengthening and expanding our efforts, joining together with our funding partners and world-class students, staff and faculty to have a profound impact on the great challenges of our time,” Ono said.
The U-M research enterprise continues to play a critical role in driving statewide economic growth, enhancing workforce development by supporting employment across large and small businesses. Innovation Partnerships, a unit based in OVPR that serves as the university’s central hub for research commercialization activity, helped launch 25 new startup companies during FY ’23.
Many of these companies are now based in southeast Michigan, and they range in scope from developing innovative therapies for the treatment of fibrosis to designing technologies that aid in substance abuse monitoring.
U-M research also generated a record 580 new inventions and 145 new U.S. patents last year, which reflects the university’s commitment to translating research for broad societal impact.