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Miss. State ranks in top 100...

Miss. State ranks in top 100 universities for research and development expenditures

By: Jeremy Pittari - December 11, 2023

Hussein Gharakhani working with the newly developed “end-effector,” a two-fingered robotic arm developed as part of an autonomous agriculture focus at Mississippi State. (Photo by David Ammon / MSU)

Mississippi State also ranks in the top 15 universities in three fields key to Mississippi’s economy: agriculture, natural resources and conservation, and aerospace engineering. 

Mississippi State University (MSU) was recently ranked in the top 100 research universities nationally by the National Science Foundation (NSF) report for its spending in research and development.

According to the report, MSU spent $303,418,000 during fiscal year 2022 in research and development, giving the Starkville-based university a ranking of 97 in the NSF Higher Education Research and Development survey.

The more than $300 million in spending reflects a 10 percent increase from the previous year, and is one percent higher than the national average.  

“University research is a catalyst for growth and economic development in our state. I am proud of the work our research universities do to enhance existing industries and to attract new companies and jobs to Mississippi,” said Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Al Rankins. 

MSU is Mississippi’s leading research university, accounting for more than 50 percent of the $565 million spent on research and development through the state’s public universities. 

In terms of disciplines, MSU ranks in the top 15 in three fields: 11th in agriculture, 14th in natural resources and conservation, and 15th in aerospace engineering. 

The high ranking in agriculture and natural resources demonstrates how the university supports the state’s leading industries of agriculture and forestry, MSU notes.

The university also ranks in the top 50 in the disciplines of industrial and manufacturing engineering, materials science, geological and earth sciences and social sciences, to name a few. 

“While I am proud of our broad strengths, I am even more proud of our collaborative culture that allows for the creation of interdisciplinary research teams that can tap into multiple areas of expertise to develop innovative solutions,” said MSU Vice President for Research and Economic Development Julie Jordan in a statement from the university. “We have more than 4,000 research personnel that are the backbone of our research enterprise, and I thank them for their tireless efforts to improve our state, nation and world.”

When compared to other public institutions that spend funds in research and development, the new survey ranked MSU 64th.

Research by MSU is part of the university’s $1.8 billion in economic impact within the state, buoying its ability to employ thousands and act as a magnet for private sector industries. The work also creates circumstances for start-up and spin-off businesses to succeed, MSU reports.

Funding for the university’s research is derived from a variety of sources, including industry and business, trade groups, local and state governments, and various federal agencies such as NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the U.S. Department of Defense, among others.

“I am extremely proud of the way our research activities continue to grow and help lead our state forward,” said MSU President Mark Keenum.  

About the Author(s)
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Jeremy Pittari

Jeremy Pittari is a lifelong resident of the Gulf Coast. Born and raised in Slidell, La., he moved to South Mississippi in the early 90s. Jeremy earned an associate in arts from Pearl River Community College and went on to attend the University of Southern Mississippi, where he earned a bachelor's of arts in journalism. A week after Hurricane Katrina, he started an internship as a reporter with the community newspaper in Pearl River County. After graduation, he accepted a full-time position at that news outlet where he covered the recovery process post Katrina in Pearl River and Hancock Counties. For nearly 17 years he wrote about local government, education, law enforcement, crime, business and a variety of other topics. Email Jeremy: