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Ohio State jumps 12 spots in national ranking of research universities

University now ranks 7th among public institutions, 12th overall, in research expenditures

The Ohio State University’s record-breaking research and development expenditures in 2021 helped boost the university’s standing among research universities nationwide, according to a new survey by the National Science Foundation.

Ohio State is ranked 12th among all universities in overall research expenditures in fiscal year (FY) 2021, an increase of 12 positions from a previous ranking of 24th in FY2020.  The university ranking also increased among public colleges and universities, moving up from 15th in 2020 to 7th in 2021. 

The NSF’s annual Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) survey rankings show that Ohio State’s research and creative expression community conducted $1.236 billion in research and development expenditures in FY2021.

“Ohio State has an ambitious goal to double research and development expenditures over the next decade to address societal challenges and improve people’s lives. Our advancing rankings among our peer institutions are proof of the hard work and relentless innovation on the part of our faculty, students and staff,” said Peter Mohler, vice president for research at Ohio State.

“The university has long been committed to groundbreaking, convergent research to advance robotics, artificial intelligence, biomedical sciences and other fields of research and creative expression,” said Dorota Grejner-Brzezinska, Ohio State's vice president for knowledge enterprise. “While we are pleased to see this recognition, our effort to use science and discovery to solve large, complex societal challenges continues unabated.”

For industry-sponsored research, Ohio State is 6th among all universities, with $129.9 million in expenditures.

Overall, research and development spending by academic institutions in the United States totaled $89.9 billion in FY 2021, an increase of $3.4 billion (4%) from FY 2020.

The HERD survey is the primary source of information on research and development expenditures at U.S. colleges and universities. The survey collects information on research and development expenditures by field of research and source of funds and gathers information on types of research, expenses and personnel.

Year over year, federal research spending at Ohio State grew 7.7%, from $539 million in FY 2020 to $581 million in FY 2021. Ohio State’s institutional investment in research grew to $404 million in FY 2021, up from $152 million the previous fiscal year.

The university said that in addition to increased university investment in FY 2021, better alignment across colleges, units and affiliated entities allowed Ohio State to identify additional institutional investment that was previously not reported as part of the HERD survey.

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