Washington stays strong in the race for university research grants

A survey ranks states on total dollars received and their five-year growth trends.
A survey ranks states on total dollars received and their five-year growth trends.

The scramble for federal research dollars to fund university programs is getting more competitive, particularly as lagging states enter the competition. Some new figures from the National Science Foundation, tracking the direct federal science and engineering grants for 2000-2004 put the spotlight on how Northwest states are doing. California continues to be the top recipient, getting almost $3.5 billion of the $23.8 billion total amount in 2004, but it was only the 26th fastest-growing state over the five-year period. The other top states are New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Texas, and Massachusetts. Colorado is a good example of a favored state that is losing ground. It ranked 14th in research grants in 2004, but over the five-year period its growth rate ranked it a lowly 43rd. Washington, whose UW is among the top individual universities in getting federal grants, is another leading state under pressure from new competitors. It scored an impressive 11th in 2004 ($653 million) and shows no signs of losing ground with a growth-rate ranking of 13th. Oregon ranks 25th in 2004 grants, but is losing ground with a growth rate that is 45th. Alaska is one of the comers, scoring only 42nd in 2004 but with a growth-rate rank of 7th. Montana is another gainer, ranking 44th in grants but 14th in growth rate. Idaho scores poorly, 49th in 2004 grants and a growth-rate rank of 36th. The University of Idaho has just announced that it dipped below $100 million in grants for the first time in the past four years. The Idaho Legislature has passed a faculty-pay increase of 5 percent, which should help to retain researchers.


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