12:00 AM

Research Report spotlights high-impact projects, student opportunities

COLUMBUS – The 2006 Annual Report on Research released this month by the Office of Research records the university's progress in growing and focusing its research capacities over the past year.

“Ohio State continues to attract an ever-increasing proportion of research dollars, due largely to the commitment and creativity of our faculty, who are currently working on some 4,000 research projects,” said President Karen A. Holbrook.

Ohio State ranks 9th among public universities in the country in the amount of spending on research, according to figures compiled by the federal government through the National Science Foundation. The university also rose from 39th to 24th place in the ranking of federally funded research programs nationwide, the largest leap ahead of any top 100 university in the nation, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education rankings, published in May. The university's standing will be further enhanced by its $110 million investment over the next five years in its innovative Targeted Investment in Excellence (TIE) program. TIE is targeting 10 areas of scholarship and research with the highest potential impact on Ohio State's worldwide academic stature as a major research university, including climate, water and carbon; public health preparedness; clean, sustainable energy; the Mathematical Biosciences Institute; micro-RNA; the Center for Cosmology and Astro-particle Physics; advanced materials; population and health; translational plant sciences; and the music industry program.

“These investments build on Ohio State's proven expertise and bring great researchers together across disciplines to solve some of the world's most challenging problems. At the same time, they offer incredible opportunities for our graduate and undergraduate students to work closely with faculty experts to create knowledge that could dramatically strengthen the health and well-being of society,” said Robert T. McGrath, senior vice president for research.

The size and productivity of Ohio State's research programs have a significant impact on the state's economy as well, McGrath added. Using an economic impact multiplier provided by the United States Department of Commerce, the American Association of Universities estimates that every $1 million expended on university-based research supports 32 jobs. “This means that Ohio State's $652 million in research expenditures for fiscal year 2006 sustained over 20,000 jobs,” said McGrath.

The Annual Report notes that Ohio State now spends $652 million annually on research. This is a change from the $589 million in awards previously reported as Ohio State brings its reporting indicators in line with those used by the National Science Foundation. The number indicates research expenditures, not awards, and includes all institutional research, not sponsored research alone.

McGrath called the year's figures “impressive,” especially given that Congressional appropriations for basic and applied research increased by only 1.8 percent between 2005 and 2006.

“All these activities bring an excitement and vitality to the educational experience we offer our students and bring enormous benefits to the state of Ohio and far beyond,” he said.