Northwestern University continued its decade-long ascent in annual sponsored research funding, totaling $923.8 million from various sources to enable high-impact basic and translational work to thrive across the University. As fiscal year 2022 closed on Aug. 31, Northwestern’s research funding had risen 3% over the previous year, driven by a 4% increase in awards, which totaled 3,581. The figures are being audited but expected to shift only slightly after final review.
This performance is part of a larger growth trajectory, with the University’s overall research funding increasing nearly 82% since 2012. Such growth has furthered the societal impact of Northwestern’s research while consistently elevating the University into the top 10 national rankings. The scope of University activity continued to be broad, with researchers making important contributions across many areas, including through frequent interdisciplinary work that remained prominent, bringing together teams from across the life sciences, engineering, the social sciences, humanities and more.
Northwestern investigations over the past year were numerous and included the development of a pioneering injectable therapy aimed at repairing severe spinal injuries. Another advance produced the world’s first winged microflier, a tiny electronic computer chip the size of a sand grain that might be used to monitor air pollution or airborne disease. Northwestern chemists discovered a process to break down so-called “forever chemicals,” a finding with significant potential environmental and health implications. Researchers also gained additional support to map proteins in the human body — work with important therapeutic potential — and to pursue greater understanding and treatment of neurodegenerative disorders, including ongoing investigations of primary progressive aphasia.
“The range and excellence of Northwestern’s research is incredible, with high-impact contributions across domains, and frequently at the intersections of these domains,” said Vice President for Research Milan Mrksich. “Our multidisciplinary approach to research is exciting, bold and produces breakthrough results. It’s also rooted in our strategic design and the vision we have for Northwestern to continue consolidating its strengths as a global research powerhouse.”
Mrksich said Northwestern is a place that encourages collaboration and where people often embrace opportunities to solve big challenges together, using knowledge, tools and techniques that bridge many different areas. “In doing so, they transform their fields and create great societal and economic benefit through fundamental and translational research innovation.”