An areal photo of VCU's compass plaza.

VCU sets a record for sponsored research funding

$464M reached in FY23, up 71% over the past five fiscal years.

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Virginia Commonwealth University announced the highest sponsored research funding in its history today, continuing its growing national distinction as a top urban, public research university. The latest institutional record of $464.6 million total sponsored funding for fiscal year 2023 marks a 71% increase over five years ago and a 14% increase since last year.

“I’m proud that research is one of the fastest areas of growth and impact at VCU. Thanks to our faculty and supportive leaders, we continue to set new records for our sponsored research funding and have risen in the national rankings as a top public research university,” said VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D. “Research is one of the most important ways that VCU as a public institution truly serves the public good. Research is a priority in every school – we’re asking questions that vex society and finding answers that improve and lift lives.”

President Rao shared a preview of fiscal year 2023 sponsored research figures with the VCU Board of Visitors earlier today. Details of the combined awards for sponsored programs, including grants, contracts and other funding types directed toward research and other activities, will become available in the coming weeks.  

In addition to more state and federal funding for VCU’s research portfolio, federal funding, in particular from the National Institutes of Health, has grown exponentially since last year, preliminary analyses show. Research funding grew in nearly every college and school on the MCV, Monroe Park and Qatar campuses.

“In addition to the record sponsored research funding, our impact continues to grow at a rapid pace, reflecting VCU’s deep commitment to knowledge creation and ability to conduct transformative research and innovation,” said P. Srirama Rao, Ph.D., vice president for research and innovation.

The increase underscores the university’s commitment to its One VCU Research Strategic Priorities Plan and its investments into four key research initiatives led by innovative and high-impact teams across its three campuses, which are designed to capitalize on VCU’s growing national leadership in many fields of research and scholarship and accelerate transformative innovation.

“This increased funding and impactful research spans the arts, humanities, social sciences as well as the STEM and health fields and will further allow our dedicated and talented faculty, fellows, staff and students to take creative inventions, ideas and innovations into the public domain – whether it is the community marketplace or from the bench to the bedside – to make a difference locally, nationally and globally,” S. Rao said.

On Tuesday, the National Academy of Inventors announced that VCU ranked among the top 100 universities in the U.S. (86th) for utility patents granted, reflecting VCU’s excellence in innovation and research.

Last December, the National Science Foundation ranked VCU 50th among public universities nationwide for federally funded research expenditures.