Washington State University received more USDA research and development funding than any other university for the second year in a row.
WSU researchers received $50.9 million in the 2017 federal fiscal year, the latest period for which complete figures are available, according to the National Science Foundation’s Higher Education Research and Development Survey.
The expenditures also set a university record, up $8 million over last year’s record, according to a WSU press release.
“It shows WSU has scientists and research capabilities that are needed by USDA,” said Dan Nordquist, associate vice president for the Office of Research Support and Operations at the university.
The majority of the funds were awarded in a peer-reviewed competitive process, Nordquist said.
Nationwide, 375 universities received $1.2 billion. North Carolina State University ranked second with $41.8 million. Colorado State University ranked third with nearly $37 million.
The University of California-Davis ranked 10th with $31.7 million.
Oregon State University ranked 12th with $30.4 million, and University of Idaho ranked 29th with $14 million.
WSU’s ranking means the continuation of research and new studies that offer crucial support for ranchers and communities, said Andre-Denis Wright, dean of the College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences.
“Resources to support research are very limited and it’s very competitive,” Wright told the Capital Press in an email. “Remaining on top in any category is difficult and challenging. We are blessed to have world class researchers with great ideas.”
For the future, CAHNRS is always looking to make strategic hires, and to hire researchers who will be competitive and successful, Wright said.
According to WSU, CAHNRS received nearly 76% of the USDA research dollars.
The College of Veterinary Medicine received nearly 12% of USDA funding, conducting research focused on livestock health and food security.
The Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture also received USDA funds, including research into the use of biomass to develop bio-products and biofuels.
In addition, other WSU colleges and support units received USDA funds, according to WSU.
Farmers and ranchers help set the research agenda and priorities, Nordquist said.
“Without the input of farmers and ranchers, we’d not be able to be competitive for these funds,” he said. “For us to do this work, keep up on it, move it from the basic to applied to Extension and out to the farmers and ranchers is an important part of what we do.”
The 2018 Farm Bill could provide more money for WSU research, according to the press release. It includes authorization for money to support agriculture research and trade, food and nutrition programs, conservation, support for America’s farmers and rural economies and animal disease prevention.