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### Increase in Federal Research Funding at University While GW Drops in Rankings

GW’s federal research expenditures rose by approximately 0.32 percent in fiscal year 2022, but the University experienced a decline in expenditure rankings among higher education institutions, as reported during the Faculty Senate meeting on Friday.

During FY2021, the University’s federal research expenditures were around \(161.35 million, increasing slightly to \)161.87 million in FY2022. However, GW’s ranking dropped from 91st to 95th in the National Science Foundation’s Higher Education Research and Development Survey. Concerns were raised by faculty senators regarding delays in research approvals and payments for research staff, which Pamela Norris, the vice provost of research, attributed to turnover in the Office of Research, Integrity, and Compliance.

Norris emphasized the need for a “significant” investment in research to sustain GW’s growth in federal research expenditures and rankings. Despite the continuous increase in federal research expenditures, GW’s ranking relative to its peers has been on the decline due to heightened competition.

Among peer institutions, GW ranks eighth in federal research expenditures, with the University of Pittsburgh leading the group in 12th place. While GW landed at 95th place overall, it outperformed Northeastern, Tufts, Tulane, Georgetown, and Syracuse universities.

Faculty senate members questioned Norris about the drop in research expenditure rankings. Philip Wirtz, a faculty senator and professor, expressed concerns about the University’s reduced spending of federal funds on research compared to previous years when GW achieved more consistent rankings.

In response, Norris expressed “optimism” for a substantial increase in research expenditures in FY2023, noting a 23 percent rise compared to the previous year. However, she highlighted uncertainties regarding GW’s competition.

Issues related to staffing turnover in the Office of Research, Integrity, and Compliance were raised by faculty senators, impacting research approvals and the University’s ability to compensate researchers promptly. Delays in approvals, particularly in the Institutional Review Board, have hindered faculty productivity and student training.

Norris acknowledged the challenges posed by staffing turnover and regulatory changes, leading to delays in research approvals. Efforts are underway to address these issues and enhance the payment process for research staff and consultants.

The University’s research expenditures, sourced from various entities, have remained stable at around $250 million since 2018. A significant portion, 67.7 percent, is allocated to health-related studies in FY2023, with a focus on medicine and health sciences, social sciences, and science and engineering.

Researchers have noted a rise in active awards in FY2023, reaching the highest number since FY2014. Notable awards include \(12 million for kidney failure patient research and \)12 million for engineering workforce development.

Norris introduced a new orientation system for researchers, an online video library offering orientation materials for onboarding and professional development. Investments in electronic infrastructure, like LabArchives and federal relations with Lewis-Burke, aim to enhance research capabilities and funding opportunities.

Efforts are also underway to expand experimental research opportunities for undergraduate students through work-study positions in research labs, providing valuable hands-on experience outside traditional campus roles.