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Vanderbilt ranked in top 20 universities in the national competition for federal research dollars

Oct. 13, 2008, 11:16 AM

Vanderbilt University has attained the rank of 20th in the nation in the total value of federal science and engineering research grants awarded to campus researchers, according to an annual report compiled by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The report is titled “Federal Obligations for Science & Engineering Research & Development” and it contains what is generally considered to be the most accurate figures on the distribution of federal science and engineering research and development dollars among the nation’s top 100 research institutions.

Vanderbilt has been on a steady rise since 2001, when it was ranked 39th. In the 2004 report, it jumped to 25th. From 2005 to 2007, it alternated between 23rd and 24th. This year it jumped three spots to 20th.

“NSF releases many kinds of lists,” commented Dennis G. Hall, Associate Provost for Research and Dean of the Graduate School, “but this is the one that we track to get a sense of how the institution is doing in the competition for external funds. It’s gratifying to see our faculty’s great ideas and hard work are paying off so well.”

The ranking is based on funding levels in fiscal year 2006, the latest year for which comprehensive statistics are available. The ranking is considered an important yardstick for gauging the quality of university research because it is based almost entirely on grants that are awarded on the basis of quality and merit through the competitive, peer review process.

This year Vanderbilt was ranked 18th in the nation by the popular U.S. News College Rankings. Hall has compared the U.S. News and NSF lists and found that only 10 universities are included in the top 20 in both lists.

“It’s extremely difficult to get on both of these lists and it’s difficult to stay there,” Hall said. “My congratulations to all those who have kept Vanderbilt advancing at such a remarkable pace in such a competitive setting.”

Media Contact: David F. Salisbury, (615) 343-6803

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