WSU sees increase in Research and Development Expenditures

WSU had its highest ever Research and Development (R&D) expenditures for fiscal year 2022 according to the Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) Survey, which released information on research and development expenditures at U.S. colleges and universities at the end of November. The National Science Foundation’s HERD survey looks at funding for research and development reported by both public and private institutions and provides institutional rankings by all R&D expenditures and unique expenditure categories. 


Washington State University ranked 77th overall out of 637 institutions in R&D expenditures for fiscal year 2022 with $368.3M in expenditures—an increase from 2021 and an improvement of one spot in the rankings from FY 2021.

For the second year in a row, WSU ranked second overall in USDA R&D expenditures ($52.1M; an increase from $44.9M in FY2021). WSU ranked 84th out of 633 institutions in federally funded expenditures in FY 2022. Explore the HERD data tables here.

Peer comparisons

Compared to strategic plan peers, WSU was 9th out of 14 in overall R&D expenditures. It was a progressive year for WSU and strategic plan peers; each institution experienced an increase in R&D expenditures for fiscal year 2022.

According to HERD, “Research and development spending by academic institutions totaled $97.8 billion in FY 2022, an increase of $8.0 billion from FY 2021.” WSU and its strategic plan peers saw a total of $6.9B in combined R&D expenditures, with the University of Maryland leading the group at $1.2B in expenditures for fiscal year 2022 and Oregon State University at 14th with $297.9M.

Expenditure per tenure-track faculty

WSU punches above its weight when considering R&D expenditures relative to the size of the faculty workforce.  In comparison with our peers, WSU ranked 5th out of 14 in R&D expenditures per tenured/tenure-track FTE. WSU’s R&D expenditures per tenured/tenure-track FTE was $417.3K for FY2022, an increase from $413.7K in 2021. This highlights what we know about WSU’s faculty—that their work demonstrates academic rigor and produces impactful research that contributes to their fields, Washington state, and the global community.

HERD R&D expenditures per TTT FTE line graph comparing WSU with its peers
Line graph showing R&D expenditures per T/TT FTE for WSU and strategic plan peers from 2024-2022. R&D expenditures are from NSF HERD survey, faculty FTE are from IPEDS.

HERD survey details

In order to be included in the HERD survey, participating institutions must have spent at least $150,000 for research and development that has been separately accounted for in the past fiscal year. Information is collected on R&D expenditures by research field, funding source, as well as on types of research, expenses, and headcounts of research and development personnel. 

The survey is conducted by the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) within the National Science Foundation. The HERD survey helps show investment in higher education, and through those investments helps drive scientific and technological breakthroughs.

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About the Author

Eija Sumner is the Strategic Communication Coordinator in the Office of Strategy, Planning, and Analysis (OSPA) at Washington State University.