/ Modified nov 25, 2019 1:12 p.m.

How Arizona's universities rank in R & D spending

The state's public schools rank high in space, social science and geoscience research spending.

Old Main front with cactus Old Main on the campus of the University of Arizona.
AC Swedbergh/AZPM

Every year, the National Science Foundation conducts a census of how much money colleges and universities spend on research and development. Here's how Arizona universities fared this year.

According to the census of 915 institutions, the state of Arizona ranked 19th among U.S. states and territories.

The state made its strongest showings in the final frontier, with University of Arizona leading the country in astronomy and astrophysics spending. UA also ranked 6th in NASA funding expenditures, just behind Arizona State University at 5th. Northern Arizona University's space spending ranked 44th.

The Sun Devils placed 4th overall in social science outlay and 1st in anthropology, compared to the Wildcats' No. 10 position in anthropology. ASU ranked 10th in psychology spending.

Those respective rankings repeated in geological and earth sciences. NAU came in 65th in that subcategory, but placed 69th in the umbrella group of geosciences, atmospheric sciences and ocean sciences expenditures.

ASU also ranked 8th in spending for electrical, electronic and communications engineering, followed by UA at 16th place. ASU came in 16th in civil engineering and 19th in engineering overall.

UA and NAU also ranked highly in spending on natural resources and conservation research, with the Tucson university placing 20th and the Flagstaff university placing 45th.

In terms of total higher education R&D expenditures among public institutions, UA ranked 20th and ASU 24th, spending about $687 million and almost $618 million, respectively.

ASU ranked 21st (around $66 million) for National Science Foundation spending, followed by UA at 29th place (almost $53 million).

Arizona Science Desk
This story is from the Arizona Science Desk, a collaborative of the state's public radio stations, including NPR 89.1. Read more from the Arizona Science Desk.
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