University of North Texas sees record growth in research productivity | College of Science
November 10, 2021

University of North Texas sees record growth in research productivity

During pandemic, total sponsored awards increased 25% to reach $50 million

Despite hurdles presented by the global pandemic, the University of North Texas had record growth in research productivity last year. Unprecedented gains in new research grants and proposals and overall research expenditures reflect the university's rise as a major national research university.

The total number of research proposals rose 17% from $213 million in fiscal year 2020 to $251.4 million in fiscal year 2021, which ended Aug. 31. The university secured its highest-ever level of external funding, with a 25% increase from $39.9 million to $50.0 million in sponsored awards.

UNT Vice President for Research and Innovation Mark McLellan said the unparalleled success was a testament to the tenacity and hard work of its research faculty who persevered while managing COVID-19 conditions, including reduced staffing and travel restrictions.

"Despite the hardships of doing research while managing COVID restrictions, our researchers flipped it around for a spectacular win," McLellan said. "These are astounding numbers that the faculty achieved -- double-digit growth in sponsored projects. The faculty did an amazing job during fiscal year 2021."

UNT first achieved Tier One research university status in 2015 and has continued to grow its research enterprise, focusing on both the breadth and depth of the research portfolio.

"What our researchers accomplished this year is nothing short of astounding. Their activities in research and creative activity, beyond just the numbers, are yet more examples of their dedication to excellence," McLellan said. "These research and sponsored project investments by federal, state and private foundations indicate confidence in UNT's talent and mission, and bear witness to our university's dedication to the advancement of education, knowledge and the well-being of our community and state."

Restricted research spending, a metric needed to achieved National Research University Fund Status, rose 20% to a record $20.3 million in fiscal year 2021. Research growth is happening across disciplines from engineering to public service. New projects ranged from climate change studies to the use of artificial intelligence to detect bias in student learning.

"If you look inside the system -- proposals and the awards are broad," McLellan said.

"The sheer range of discoveries that our researchers accomplished this year is helping sustain the big challenges our world faces; from racial and ethnic equity to bettering materials for solider protection. I am incredibly proud of the dedication and perseverance our research community has shown, and their positive contributions to our state and world."

The growth in funding reflects the fact that UNT researchers are addressing the most pressing problems in our world today.

Via UNT News