Michigan State University main website

Research Funding and Expenditures

Research Funding

Research funding comes from many sources. Funding for externally sponsored programs comes primarily from federal agencies, state agencies, industry, associations, and foundations. Competitive internal grants programs and Facilities and Administrative (F&A) cost return also support research. Because funds for conducting research are generally awarded in multi-year contracts or grants, the amount recorded as received each year may not reflect the research being done in that year.

MSU’s total external funding for FY2018 was $616M.

Line graph depicting year over year growth in external funding

Past research funding figures.

Research Expenditures

Research expenditures – that is, the funds spent to conduct research – are the most frequently cited numbers for comparing research levels among colleges and universities. The National Science Foundation (NSF) surveys all recipients of federal funds annually, asking about their research expenditures from all funding sources. The NSF numbers provide the most comprehensive listing of research expenditures and are the most consistent for comparisons with other institutions.

MSU’s total expenditures for FY2016 (the most recent data available for NSF/HERD) was $613M.

Based on the FY2016 expenditure comparison: MSU ranks 1st in the Big Ten and 2nd in the nation in combined Department of Energy and National Science Foundation expenditures (2016).

MSU total research expenditures reported for 2017, were $700M. Comparison data for 2017 is not yet available.

Line graph showing growth in research expenditures