January 11, 2023

Georgia continues to climb the rankings in university research

For the second consecutive year, Georgia has moved up a notch in national rankings of university research: A new report from the National Science Foundation shows the state now ranks no. 8 in the U.S. for “Higher education R&D expenditures.”

NSF data show that Georgia’s colleges and universities posted $2.95 billion in research expenditures in FY21, a 6% increase over the previous year. That figure is higher than university R&D numbers for several states with high profiles in research, such as Michigan, Illinois, Ohio and Florida.

Georgia’s no. 8 ranking represents a fast and steady rise in university research. Just five years ago, the state ranked 12th in the nation, according to NSF.

The Georgia Research Alliance has been a consistent engine propelling the growth of university R&D in the state. Last year, GRA’s Academy of Eminent Scholars, Distinguished Investigators and Senior Fellows accounted for $899 million in private and public research grants and contracts. Their labs are also a major contributor to science and technology workforce development, employing 1,987 professionals.

“GRA’s efforts to bring more private and public research dollars to Georgia sparks a chain reaction of other benefits to our state,” says GRA President Susan Shows. “By recruiting superstar scientists and making carefully considered investments in lab technology, GRA makes an investment that pays off year after year.”

That payoff, Shows explained, takes several forms. Growth in university research creates more jobs in labs, an experience that prepares a high-tech workforce. It also spurs the formation of startup companies around university scientists’ inventions, creating more jobs and economic impact.

“GRA’s efforts contribute a tremendous benefit — enriching and strengthening the ‘Georgia Story’ as companies are recruited to our state,” says Ángel Cabrera, president of Georgia Tech, a GRA member university. “As we succeed in expanding research and entrepreneurship, Georgia keeps growing as an exciting place to work, innovate, and invest, and the world changing effect of this research will continue to ripple through all of our lives.”

The NSF report provides data from the FY 2021 Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) Survey, an annual census of institutions that expended at least $150,000 in separately accounted-for research and development (R&D) in the fiscal year. R&D dollars include grants and contracts from federal, industry and nonprofit sources.

A full set of university R&D expenditure tables for FY2010-20 is available at the NSF website.