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The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is ranked 146th in the nation in research and development expenditures.

That’s according to the Higher Education Research and Development, or HERD, Survey, the National Science Foundation’s annual index of research expenditures.

NSF released its 2018 rankings last week. UL Lafayette’s showing is based on the record $124.7 million it expended on R&D during the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2018.

The amount places the University among the top 23 percent of the 647 U.S. colleges and universities the 2018 HERD survey included.

The 2018 figure is a 25-percent increase over the previous year’s total.

In 2017, the University spent $100.98 million and ranked 153rd on the HERD index. The 2017 figure was the first time in UL Lafayette history that its R&D expenditures crossed the $100 million threshold.

UL Lafayette competes against other universities for federal and state government grants, and private sector contracts. The University acts as a steward for the funds awarded to faculty and staff researchers.

Dr. Joseph Savoie, UL Lafayette president, announced the 2018 total in August during his annual State of the University speech.

The $124.7 million figure “is an incontrovertible statement that these entities value what our researchers are doing,” Savoie said at the time.

Last week, Dr. Ramesh Kolluru, vice president for Research, Innovation and Economic Development, said the University’s 2018 HERD ranking “is a testament to the intellect, determination and passion of our researchers as well as the graduate students and staff who support them.”

The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education categorizes universities based on research capacity, among other criteria. UL Lafayette is considered a Research 2 university, or one that produces “higher research activity.”

“But when I talk to faculty members, staff and the students who are working with them – these incredible minds who made this most-recent HERD ranking possible – there’s nothing second tier about them,” Kolluru continued.

“Our growth in R&D expenditures year after year – and the increased rankings that have accompanied that growth – only fuels our ambitions. We’ll continue to work hard, driven by our University’s commitment to ‘research for a reason,’ and our promise to maximize the public impact of our research, until we reach the next level.”

Graphic credit: Courtney Jeffries / University of Louisiana at Lafayette