Virginia Tech Research up 11 Percent

Virginia Tech has reported research expenditures of $321.7 million to the National Science Foundation for fiscal year 2006, an 11 percent increase over 2005. That’s up from $289.99 million the previous year, which garnered Virginia Tech a 56th ranking among the 630 universities that conduct R&D in the United States.

We should all cheer to see the headway at Virginia Tech, Virginia’s largest research university. Of course, these rankings are like running on a treadmill — every other university is bidding furiously to increase their R&D expenditures and improve their rankings, too. Despite gains in R&D expenditures, Virginia Tech had actually fallen in the national rankings in recent years. Hopefully, an 11 percent gain will prove sufficient to move it up a couple of notches in the prestige sweepstakes.

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One response to “Virginia Tech Research up 11 Percent”

  1. Groveton Avatar

    The universities in Virginia are, as a whole, above average. However, they really aren’t quite the miracle that smae would have you believe.

    1. The university usually rated as the best in Virginia is the University of Virginia which gets an overall ranking somewhere between 20 – 25 in the country. William & Mary is usually close behind. Virginia Tech comes in around 75.

    2. Those are above average results. Now, if you asked who had the best public universities Virginia would be either best or second in the country (California has a legitimate claim to #1 as well as Virginia).

    3. The first problem, from an economic development perspective, is that private vs. public really doesn’t matter. So, while having the best oubkic universities in the country is a matter of legitimate pride it is far different than having the best universities in America.

    4. The universities in Virginia are very poorly organized from an economic development perspective. First, they are poorly located from a geographic perspective – Charlottesville, Williamsburg and Blacksburg are very nice places but they all lack the necessary population and business base to get much bang for the buck. Meanwhile, Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads and Richmond have the population base and (arguably for Hampton Roads) the business base but none of the “Big 3” public universities. And yes – I know about George Mason, The University of Richmond, etc. Fine schools. I am just following the rankings here.

    5. There seems to be little to no concept of specialization among Virginia’s universities. Tech might have more of an engineering bias but there are plenty of kids in the “Tool School” at UVA. And UVA might have a very good graduate business school but there are plenty of people getting MBAs at Tech and William & Mary.

    6. The Engineering and Computer Science programs (big drivers of economic development) seem to lag the overall quality of the universities. I am sure there are some fine programs but how do Virginia’s Engineering and Comp Sci programs rank on a national basis?

    7. The schools aren’t really big enough to concentrate R&D. Tech is ranked 56th in R&D? 56th? Look at the University of Texas in Austin. Overall, probably not as well rated as UVA or W&M. But much more of a force that either (or both) of those universities in economic development. Why? It’s near a population center (also state capital), it’s got a strong focus on Eng, and CS and it’s hugh with the associated huge R&D program. Imagine how different things would be if a university like the University of Texas was located in Richmond.

    8. Self-destructive politics prevail at Virginia’s universities. About 5 or 6 years ago I went to UVA’s extension campus in Northern Virginia. I met with the director. Fine chap. I had to find a university to serve the thousands of employees we have in Northern Virginia. They wanted to be able to pursue graduate degress at night and on weekends (mostly in CS) and we were willing to pay for them to do so. The UVA extension would take our money, they’d conduct the classes but they wouldn’t grant any graduate degrees. I asked why. I was told that the decision was made based on “politics from Charlottesville”. They didn’t want to “cheapen the UVA brand”. Cheapen their brand by granting people who earned their MSCS degrees MSCS degrees? Cheapen their brand – in Computer Science. These clowns had to be kidding me. We set up programs with a number of universities but passed on any relationship with UVA.

    In the interest of full disclosure I attended and graduated from the University of Virginia. I loved the experience and the education. I am bitterly disappointed at the university’s inability to enter the modern age, its resting on past laurels and it’s idiotic “Charlottesville-only” viewpoint.

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