Kansas University was able to increase its federal research funding in 2007, despite the decreasing availability of funds nationwide.
KU placed 44th among public research universities when it came to spending of federal dollars, according to a National Science Foundation report. In 2007, KU spent $115.7 million in federal science and engineering research funding and $193 million including all grants and contracts.
Steve Warren, vice provost for research and graduate studies, said the fact that KU actually rose in the rankings despite decreasing available funds was a testament to the quality of work at KU.
"It shows we have a very good faculty who can compete in very difficult times," he said. "It's a very good sign in terms of quality of our scientists and their resilience."
Warren said the universities that lost funding in 2007 would face tougher times in upcoming years. History has shown that universities that were able to keep a grip on funds in tight financial times were able to bounce back more quickly than those who fell behind, he said.
That's why KU is focusing its energies on its powerhouse areas: pharmaceuticals, human development, health sciences and engineering.
Despite a one-point rise in rankings from 45th in 2006, KU is smack dab in the middle of the Big 12 when it comes to federal research money.
Texas A&M and the University of Colorado were the conference's top two with $544 million and $527 million, respectively, in total NSF funding in all areas. Baylor University was at the bottom, spending $9 million in 2007.
On the foundation's full list - which includes funding in science and engineering as well as teaching students how to work in the high-tech world, among other areas-KU ranked 84th out of 662 public and private universities, research institutes and research hospitals.
According to the foundation, the nation saw a 1.6 percent decline in federal funding in 2007.