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UT System research expenditures hit record $3.4 billion

Research expenditures across the University of Texas System hit a record $3.4 billion in fiscal year 2020, indicating the significant role UT institutions have in improving Texans’ quality of life, advancing treatments for deadly and debilitating diseases, and attracting new industry and jobs to the Lone Star State.

“It’s impossible to overstate the impact of the research conducted at UT institutions,” Chancellor James B. Milliken said. “UT researchers are helping us live longer, healthier and safer lives. Their work is for the good of Texas, and in many cases, the good of the world.”

Most research conducted at UT institutions is funded by federal, state or private grants. According to federally-sponsored research expenditures – the benchmark for research success at a university – the UT System is No. 1 in Texas and No. 2 in the nation, behind only the University of California System.

The increase in research expenditures can be attributed to continued efforts by UT scientists to tackle society’s grand challenges. Those efforts have perhaps never been more critical than over the past year, with UT institutions playing a pivotal role in the development of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments and in the state’s recovery from the pandemic.

For example, the McLellan Lab at UT Austin redesigned a key protein from the coronavirus that became the basis for the development of all vaccines U.S. citizens are receiving. They’ve now engineered a second, more stabilized generation of the protein to create a more affordable vaccine for developing nations.

Likewise, at UT Medical Branch – one of only two university campuses in the U.S. with a Level 4 Bio Safety Lab – scientists engineered a method to evaluate the vaccine more quickly and study the evolution of the virus to determine whether the vaccines protect against new variants.

The research enterprise across all 13 UT institutions is one of the most comprehensive in the nation, and UT institutions regularly rank among the top 10 of the world’s most innovative universities.

UT San Antonio, which increased its research expenditures 66 percent in 2020, announced last year that it had entered into a five-year agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy to launch the Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute. CyManII will help American manufacturers adopt more secure approaches to protect supply chains from cybercriminals.

UT institutions also serve as incubators for new companies that create jobs for Texans. Over the past 10 years, entrepreneurs at UT institutions created more than 330 new companies.

And the work of UT researchers informs public policy, helping to guide decision-making and allocation of resources at the state and local level. For example, a team of researchers at UT Austin has been working on a project that could help Texas create a more resilient power grid, a timely and critical need following the statewide power outages in February.

The breakdown of research expenditures by institution can be found on the UT System Dashboard.

About The University of Texas System

For more than 130 years, The University of Texas System has been committed to improving the lives of Texans and people all over the world through education, research and health care. With 14 institutions, an enrollment of more than 240,000 students and an operating budget of $21.7 billion (FY 2021), the UT System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States. UT institutions produce more than 64,000 graduates annually and award more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees and more than half of its medical degrees. Collectively, UT-owned and affiliated hospitals and clinics accounted for more than 9.2 million outpatient visits and 1.8 million hospital days last year. UT institutions also are among the most innovative in the world, collectively ranking No. 3 for most U.S. patents granted in 2019, and the UT System is No. 1 in Texas and No. 2 in the nation in federal research expenditures. The UT System also is one of the largest employers in Texas, with more than 21,000 faculty – including Nobel laureates and members of the National Academies – and more than 85,000 health care professionals, researchers and support staff.

News Contact Information

Karen Adler: • 512-499-4360 (direct) • 210-912-8055 (cell)