VCU Moves into Top 100 in NSF Research Rankings

Virginia Commonwealth University showed a significant increase in research and development expenditures in both federal and total spending categories, elevating VCU to a Top 100 institution in both these prestigious National Science Foundation rankings.

Research and development expenditures from federal grants and contracts for fiscal year 2010 increased 48 percent over FY 2009, boosting VCU into the No. 79 position, up from No. 102 in FY 2009. For total expenditures, VCU logged a 31 percent increase, which boosted the ranking nine places to No. 98. Data for the rankings are compiled and published annually by the National Science Foundation.

“This is a major achievement for which I am grateful to my faculty colleagues, and it is a wonderful testimony to our national competitiveness and our determination to elevate VCU as one of the nation's premier public research universities,” said VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D.

Increased expenditures during FY 2010 were due in part to federal stimulus funds, or ARRA awards, said Francis Macrina, Ph.D., VCU’s vice president for research.

“VCU’s research grant support base has been growing steadily for several years now,” Macrina said. “We were pleased with the success of our faculty in competing for research grants in that reporting period and expected that we’d see VCU climb in the NSF rankings. But we were pleasantly surprised by the magnitude of climb, especially in the federal expenditure category.

“This accomplishment is directly connected to the outstanding scholarly work of our faculty, who have created a research enterprise that is the pride of VCU,” Macrina added.

VCU boasts more than $255 million in sponsored research, bringing together faculty experts and student scholars to collaborate across multiple disciplines. In 2010, VCU received a $20 million NIH grant to become part of a nationwide consortium of 60 research institutions working to turn laboratory discoveries into treatments for patients. VCU is the only academic health center in Virginia to join the network. Also, the NSF in 2009 awarded $10 million in grants to VCU researchers in the Department of Mathematics & Applied Mathematics to lead new initiatives to improve student learning in middle schools and rural elementary schools in Virginia.

In addition, VCU is home to the Massey Cancer Center, which has been supported and officially designated by the National Cancer Institute continuously since 1975.

About VCU and VCU Medical Center

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 226 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-seven of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University comprise VCU Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. For more, see