Texas A&M AgriLife Research was ranked No. 1 in agricultural sciences expenditures for fiscal year 2013, the latest year for which figures are available, according to the National Science Foundation.
The ranking marks the second year in a row the agency has topped almost 200 universities nationwide, according to Dr. Craig Nessler, AgriLife Research director at College Station.
AgriLife Research, part of the Texas A&M University System, accounted for more than $179 million of the more than $3.35 billion spent on agricultural research by more than 35 U.S. universities, surpassing the University of Florida, University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign, University of California-Davis and Purdue University in the top five positions.
Prior to 2012, AgriLife Research had totaled the third or fourth highest expenditures.
“It’s gratifying to see that we rank No. 1 again, because this is a measurement of the outstanding work our scientists do to positively impact the lives of Texans, our fellow citizens across the nation and people worldwide with important scientific discoveries in agriculture and natural resources,” Nessler said. “In an era when research budgets have been cut, we continue to attract funding to support our work to advance agriculture.”
The National Science Foundation – created in 1950 by Congress “to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense” – annually measures the total research spending in several categories, including agriculture.
“AgriLife Research is a model and an asset for the entire System,” said John Sharp, chancellor of The Texas A&M University System. “The agency has a successful, innovative approach to securing funds that enable our scientists to concentrate on their projects, thus making our world a better place.”
AgriLife Research officials said the increased funding is up from $176.4 million the previous reporting period and is $22 million higher than No. 2 ranked University of Florida.