This list will be useful if you have an interest in academic research, but are not sure which colleges and universities will provide the best opportunities for your specific career path. This ranking informs readers about not only the top schools for research investment, but also the schools that contribute the most funding to research in specific fields.
The list is divided between public four-year universities and private universities, although it also includes four institutions exclusively dedicated to medical research. Most of the ranked schools allocate between 50% and 80% of their R&D budget toward science-related research, particularly in the fields of medicine and biology. Engineering R&D funding was a little less consistent throughout the list; some schools evenly split funding for engineering and science R&D, while others provided virtually no funding toward engineering-related activities. With a few exceptions, the schools on our list allotted less than 10% of their R&D budget toward studies and projects outside these two fields.
How to Interpret the Data
As you are browsing the list, be sure to also note the percentage of R&D funds each school has committed to certain fields. Top-ranked Johns Hopkins University, for example, committed nearly $40 million toward environmental science research in 2012 ― but this figure represents only 1.8% of the school’s overall R&D budget for that year. The University of Southern California (#30), on the other hand, spent half as much on environmental science research in 2012, but this represented twice as much of the school’s R&D budget.
Please note that all dollar amounts in our list represent thousands of dollars. For instance, a total R&D expenditure of $150,000 (as presented in the ranking) actually represents $150 million. Also, percentages have been rounded to the nearest tenth.