Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Research Spending Increases

Georgetown’s research and development spending increased more than the national average over the last fiscal year, but the university spent significantly less than both public and private universities in the D.C. region.

The university’s federally funded R&D expenditures grew 6.9 percent between fiscal years 2008 and 2009, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education, as opposed to the 4 percent national average. Georgetown’s spending was only $120 million, rising from $111.6 million the previous year.

In contrast, Johns Hopkins University spent over $1.6 billion in fiscal year 2009, according to The Washington Post. The majority of that funding, almost $921 million, went to Johns Hopkins’ Applied Physics Laboratory. Georgetown’s science program is not nearly as large, which in turn reduces the university’s spending.

“When comparing across institutions . one needs to recognize that the potential for federal research support depends on many factors,” Joseph Neale, a Paduano distinguished professor and director of the Georgetown-Hughes Undergraduate Research Scholars Program, wrote in an email.

The University of Maryland, Baltimore, which has an engineering school, spent $169 million in federal funds, while Virginia Tech University, a polytechnic university, spent $148 million. Neil said that Georgetown’s programs did not lend themselves to enormous spending.

“Contrast for example universities with engineering schools versus schools of foreign service,” Neale said.

Neale also noted that the size of the university affects the amount of federal funds received.

“Most of the other institutions are very large relative to [Georgetown], often state universities with huge science departments,” Neale said. “The per faculty member element would be the critical variable in that comparison.”

Neale also commented that the sizes of both Georgetown’s endowment and its research faculty are small compared to those of other universities.

“[An important factor is] the size of the research programs and the number of faculty that are engaged in research that will draw large grants,” he said.

These numbers do not reflect investments from private organizations, such as corporations. Statistics for expenditures from private sources are not currently available for fiscal year 2009, but in 2008 Georgetown received over $32 million from private sources.

The university’s R&D awards in 2010 totaled almost $203 million. Of that, $159.4 million went to the Medical Center, while the main campus received about $32.5 million, according to Rachel Pugh, associate director of communications.

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