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Research Facts

History MSU Seal Green_RGB 1 inch

  • Founded in 1855
  • Prototype for 69 land-grant institutions established under the Morrill Act of 1862
  • First institution of higher learning in the United States to teach scientific agriculture

Faculty and Academic Staff

  • Approximately 5,281
  • 2,000 tenure-stream faculty in 2020

Research Enterprise

  • Total research expenditures totaled $725 million in FY2019.
  • Top federal funding sources: Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Agriculture, U.S. Agency for International Development, Department of Defense, and Department of Education.
  • Accelerating key research areas through the recruitment of more than 100 new faculty members as part of the Global Impact Initiative
  • Selected by the U.S. Department of Energy to design and operate the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, a $730 million facility that will advance understanding of rare nuclear isotopic processes and the evolution of the cosmos.
  • With the University of Wisconsin-Madison, awarded $125 million by the U.S. Department of Energy to continue work on advanced biofuels at the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center.
  • Home of AgBioResearch, which supports more than 325 scientists who conduct research in on-campus facilities and at 14 outlying research centers across the state.
  • Notable historical contributions include work with the homogenization of milk and the use of cisplatin as an anticancer drug.

International Research

Over the last five years, MSU scientists have been awarded significant funds for international research in the following areas:

  • Food and food security research – nearly $120 million
  • Health and nutrition – nearly $30 million
  • Educational capacity building – more than $45 million
  • Environmental sustainability – nearly $50 million

Creative Arts

Publishing & Electronic Media

  • Michigan State University Press,  the scholarly publishing arm of MSU, was founded in 1947.
  • The MSU Library curates Spartan Ideas, a collection of thoughts, ideas, and opinions independently blogged by faculty, graduate students and other members of the MSU community.


  • Holding more than 6 million volumes, the MSU Libraries offer extensive print and online resources across the entire range of scholarly disciplines.
  • The Africana Library, Vincent Voice Library, Special Collections, Comic Arts Collection and Turfgrass Information center are particular points of strength.

Innovation & Technology Transfer

  • MSU Innovation Center combines technology transfer, start-up support, and a portfolio of dedicated business and community partnerships to bring cutting-edge ideas to the marketplace. The center stewards more than 170 DISCOVERIES annually into a pipeline of patents, products and startup businesses. View the MSU Innovation Center Annual Report.

For more information on Michigan State University’s rankings, top programs and so on, visit the University’s Rankings and Recognition page.