For the third straight year, the University of Massachusetts system spent in excess of $500 million in research and development in the fiscal year 2012, a University release said.
The system’s R&D financial statements were presented during a meeting with UMass President Robert L. Caret and the UMass Board of Trustees’ Committee on Science, Technology and Research.
“As a world-class research university, faculty and students on all five of our campuses are engaged in scientific discovery that impacts the lives of the people in this state and around the globe,’’ Caret said in the release.
After hitting a spending mark of $489 million in FY 2009, an 11 percent gain put the UMass system over $500 million for the first time in 2010, spending $542.6 million. Growth shrunk to 8.1 percent the following year, spending $586.7 million and went down to 1.8 percent to reach the $597 million mark this past year.
Caret acknowledged his excitement at the numbers given the world’s economic climate. However, he also expressed caution going forward as the federal government continues to debate the automatic spending cuts which were delayed as part of the fiscal cliff negotiations that rung in the new year.
“(Student and faculty) research and rate of discovery will definitely be affected if these cuts take place,” Caret said. “Our great hope is for a resolution to the federal budget impasse.’’
The sequester cuts would take a slice out of the UMass system’s research budget as it would require shrinking the funding of all federal agencies by 8 percent. As much as three quarters of the budget is supported by federal researching grants and Caret believes that should the cuts go into effect, the University will stand to lose $32 million in federal contributions, according to the release.
“We realize that the halcyon days of 2009 when the federal government invested heavily in research and development may be over,” Caret said. “Our worry going forward is that this growth will be substantially slowed, which would have devastating consequences for the Commonwealth and the country as a whole.”
The Amherst campus spent the second-most for research funding in FY 2012 at $194.8 million. The medical branch in Worcester spent $256.1 million and Lowell and Boston consumed $60.6 million and $60.1 million, respectively. The Dartmouth campus spent $22.7 million and the system’s central office sunk $3.1 million into research efforts as well.
Jeffrey Okerman can be reached at email@example.com.