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Midwest colleges strong contenders for NIH funds

A few weeks back, we took a look at the results of the National Institutes of Health funding by state for 2005. At that time, we saw that the Midwest had two states in the top 10 states for funding, and we had another five states in the top 20 states. I promised to circle back with you to review the results for the leading universities for 2005 to see how the Midwest fared in this ranking.

The NIH falls under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and had funding last year of $27.9 billion. It is headquartered in Bethesda, Md. and has 18,627 employees. It distributes 80 percent of its funding to institutions in the 50 states.

Once again, I would like to remind you that the NIH is not the only U.S. institution which funds research, but it is the largest, distributing about 50 percent of total federal research dollars.

Other U.S. government institutions funding research include the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Department of Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense, and others.

The NIH is not one monolithic agency but in reality a collection of 27 institutes and centers which include the likes of the:
National Cancer Institute (NCI) established in 1937).

National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute (NHLBI established in 1948).

National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID established in 1948).

National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK established in 1948).

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR established in 1948).

National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH established in 1949).

National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS established in 1950).

National Library of Medicine (NLM established in 1956).

National Institute for General Medical Sciences (NIGMS established in 1962).

National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHHD established in 1962).

National Eye Institute (NEI established in 1968).

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS established in 1969).

National Institute on Aging (NIA established in 1970).

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA established in 1973).

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA established in 1974).

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS established in 1986).

National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR established in 1986).

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCR established in 1988).

National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI established in 1989).

National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB established in 2000).

Let's take a look at the top 10 universities that received NIH funding in 2005, and also simultaneously at the ranking of leading Midwest universities to see how they ranked.

U.S. University NIH Funding - 2005

University/Ranking 2005 Funding ($ M) 2004 Funding ($ M) % Growth # of Grants $'000/ Grant
1. Johns Hopkins University $607.2 $599.2 +1% 1,299 $467
2. University of Pennsylvania $471.4 $464.1 +2% 1,153 $409
3. University of Washington (Seattle) $462.0 $473.4 <2%> 997 $463
4. University of California - San Francisco $452.2 $438.8 988 $458
5. Washington University (St. Louis) $394.8 $388.3 +2% 855 $462
6. Duke University $391.2 $343.8 +14% 795 $492
7. University of Michigan $386.0 $368.2 +5% 975 $396
8. University of California - Los Angeles $385.8 $361.6 +7% 914 $422
9. University of Pittsburgh $385.7 $360.6 +7% 969 $398
10. Yale University $336.7 $323.6 +4% 868 $388
18. Case-Western University (Cleveland) $278.8 $250.0 +12% 673 $414
20. University of Wisconsin-Madison $257.1 $264.1 <3%> 670 $384
24. University of Minnesota $227.3 $224.3 +1% 575 $395
28. University of Chicago $194.7 $178.6 +9% 444 $439
37. Northwestern University (Chicago) $168.4 $157.3 +7% 469 $359
38. University of Iowa $166.1 $167.7 <1%> 447 $372
39. Mayo Clinic (Minnesota) $162.9 $166.8 <2%> 362 $450
47. Indiana University $137.4 $134.7 +2% 415 $331
48. University of Illinois-Chicago $134.4 $133.1 +1% 376 $357
Source: NIH website:

Some comments on the above ranking:

• John Hopkins not only was the leading university with the most amount of research grant money from the NIH, but had the highest amount of money per grant; Johns Hopkins has consistently been a leader for a number of years.

• The State of California had two universities in the top 10: UCSF and UCLA; the only state with this performance.

• The Midwest had two universities in the top 10 universities, Washington University of St. Louis and University of Michigan; not bad when you consider that there are more than 1,000 research institutions that win NIH money annually

• The Midwest also had another nine universities in the top 50 institutions winning NIH funding during 2005, for a total of 11 institutions in the top 50.

• Three of the Midwest institutions' funding decreased during 2005 (versus 2004); however, another three of the Midwest's institutions also had strong increases.

• On average, the size of the dollar average Midwest university grant was about 10 to 15 percent below that of leading university Johns Hopkins.

NIH funding has been increasingly hard to achieve as NIH funding has been flat over the last few years, after a number of years of significant increases. University research funding by the NIH is an important indicator of an institution's excellence. Fortunately, the Midwest's array of research universities is diverse and deep.

See you soon!

Recent articles by Michael Rosen

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Michael S. Rosen is president of Rosen Bioscience Management, a company that provides CEO services, including financing and business and corporate development to start-up and early-stage life science companies such as Renovar and Immune Cell Therapy. Rosen also is a founder and board member of the Illinois Biotechnology Industry Organization. He can be reached at

The opinions expressed herein or statements made in the above column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Wisconsin Technology Network, LLC. WTN, LLC accepts no legal liability or responsibility for any claims made or opinions expressed herein.

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