UF’s research spending reached a record high of $801.4 million in 2017.
The university reported the amount to the National Science Foundation for an annual survey of universities. This is an increase from $791.3 million in 2016, said Joseph Kays, UF’s director of research communications.
“We’ve been on a pretty steady upward trajectory for the past decade,” he said.
He said exceeding $800 million is a milestone because few universities receive that amount.
In 2016, UF was ranked 24 in total spending out of about 900 universities that reported, according to the foundation’s 2016 report. The universities ranked above UF all reported spending more than $800 million. The full 2017 report is expected to be released in November.
Kays said 74 percent of the spending was for life science research, which includes health and agriculture.
The increase is due to UF hiring researchers who bring in grants and apply for ones at UF, he said.
UF professor and researcher Doug Soltis said he received a grant in 2017 of about $6 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to research bacteria in plants that allow them to convert nitrogen into fertilizer. The research would allow plants to grow with less fertilizer and in bad soil.
The university encourages collaboration among scientists, which has led to some of his projects, Soltis said.
“Modern science is like a football team,” he said. “It’s very important to work together.”