NORMAN, OKLA. – The University of Oklahoma has achieved its highest level of research expenditures ever reported. Research expenditures are a common measure of research activity and provide a comparison among peer institutions.
Over fiscal year 2022 across its three campuses, OU reported more than $416.6 million in research and development expenditures to the National Science Foundation’s Higher Education Research and Development survey, the leading reporting mechanisms for comparing research expenditures which provides an annual census of higher education institutions. This new record for research expenditures marks an 8% increase from FY21, and continued year-over-year growth in research expenditures since the implementation of OU’s “Lead On, University” Strategic Plan.
“This historic milestone highlights our unrelenting commitment to change lives through OU research excellence,” said OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. “At OU, we have embraced our charge to align our educational and research capabilities to make the biggest societal impact, and this achievement is a testament to the high caliber and dedication of our OU research enterprise in fulfilling this promise. Attracting top talent and increasing our competitiveness for federal research funding has been deeply enhanced by the support of our state Legislature. We are incredibly grateful for their vision and efforts to champion research growth in Oklahoma.”
For OU’s Norman campus, research expenditures increased by 9% from the previous fiscal year, with federally sponsored research expenditures up by 11%.
“This research growth demonstrates that OU is making an impact, but more importantly, is that the impact is of societal benefit,” said OU Norman Vice President for Research and Partnerships Tomás Díaz de la Rubia. “From life-saving innovations in weather research, radar innovations that make our military and national security stronger, breakthroughs in engineering, social science and public policy, and innovative research at the frontiers of the life sciences, OU research is improving lives and preparing the workforce of tomorrow.”
Several significant awards contributed to this research growth. Among those was OU being the primary recipient of $24.9 million through the Oklahoma Biotech Innovation Cluster Initiative through the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge. The four OU-led projects include a biotech core facility with state-of-the-art high-throughput, advanced bioprocessing equipment and services; the Oklahoma Biotech Startup Program to provide supportive programming for a regional biotech startup pipeline; the development of 10 translational research labs dedicated to drug discovery within the OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center; and the OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center Early Phase Clinical Trial Network initiative that will double the size of its existing clinical trial program.
OU’s Norman campus received funding for two Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence, or CoBRE grants, from the National Institutes of Health. The new Oklahoma Center of Medical Imaging for Translational Cancer Research received funding for its first phase, which supports the center’s establishment to galvanize multidisciplinary biomedical research through equipment and facilities with a particular focus on junior faculty. Meanwhile, the Oklahoma Center of Biomedical Research Excellence in Structural Biology received phase three funding to help ensure the continuity of the center in providing structure-based biomedical studies of biological macromolecules – in particular, proteins or nucleic acids that are promising targets for rational drug design.
At the OU Health Sciences Center, three CoBRE grants have provided $17.8 million in awards over the last two years. These projects are addressing Oklahoma’s high incidence of infectious diseases, research into cellular and molecular events that dramatically increase the risk for disease with age and new strategies to overcome cancer resistance. Additionally, the Oklahoma Shared Clinical and Translational Institute at the OU Health Sciences Center has received $18 million over the last two years to bring translational medicine to rural and underserved populations in Oklahoma.
“We are excited to see continued research excellence and expenditure growth on the OU Health Sciences Center campus over the last several years despite the severe impact of the pandemic on our clinical and translational human research,” said Mary Beth Humphrey, interim vice president of research at the OU Health Sciences Center. “Our teams of researchers are moving basic health-related discoveries back to Oklahoma patients to provide novel diagnostics and treatments. We predict our campus research growth will accelerate even further with the adoption of our OU Health Sciences Center campus research strategic plan.”
Another area of significant research growth in FY22 is due to a marked increase in Department of Defense-funded research, primarily through research efforts led by OU’s Advanced Radar Research Center on the Norman campus.
“Since the launch of the ‘Lead On, University’ Strategic Plan, OU has been on a tremendous trajectory of research growth, facilitated by a focused, clear vision of where our research efforts can make the largest impact on the issues that matter most,” Díaz de la Rubia said. “2022 saw us recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and 2023 will see us reach even greater heights.”
About the University of Oklahoma
Founded in 1890, the University of Oklahoma is a public research university located in Norman, Oklahoma. OU serves the educational, cultural, economic and health care needs of the state, region and nation. For more information visit ou.edu.
About OU Research and Partnerships
The University of Oklahoma is a leading research university classified by the Carnegie Foundation in the highest tier of research universities in the nation. Faculty, staff and students at OU are tackling global challenges and accelerating the delivery of practical solutions that impact society in direct and tangible ways through research and creative activities. OU researchers expand foundational knowledge while moving beyond traditional academic boundaries, collaborating across disciplines and globally with other research institutions as well as decision makers and practitioners from industry, government and civil society to create and apply solutions for a better world. Find out more at ou.edu/research