Indiana University reports strong research funding, philanthropy, economic development in FY 2015

  • Aug. 14, 2015


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University enjoyed one of its best years ever for research grants, private philanthropy and economic development activities in fiscal year 2015, IU President Michael A. McRobbie has announced -- providing further compelling evidence of IU’s enormous positive impact on the state of Indiana.

The university received $540.7 million in external research funding and $416.2 million in private and institutional philanthropic contributions for the year ending June 30. It also produced a record number of global patents, and start-up companies based on IU technologies attracted nearly $100 million in outside funding.

"These areas are major priorities of the university’s Bicentennial Strategic Plan, and the figures that I am sharing today clearly signal Indiana University’s continuing status as one of the leading public research institutions in the world," said McRobbie, who shared the funding totals today at a meeting of the IU Board of Trustees on the Bloomington campus.

"These accomplishments underscore that IU is a public university in a deep sense," he said. "It exists to benefit all the people of the state, and it has a charge to continue its long tradition of engagement in the economic, social, environmental and cultural life of all Hoosiers."

External research funding

Indiana University researchers received $540.7 million in external research funding in fiscal 2015, the highest total of external research funding for any public university in Indiana during the fiscal year.

The total is second in IU history to the $604 million awarded in fiscal 2010, which included the largest single-year grant total ever provided to the university by Lilly Endowment Inc. as well as a temporary boost in federal research funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

"This year’s near-record figure confirms that IU faculty are in the forefront of one of the most competitive environments for research funding that we have ever experienced in higher education," McRobbie said. "It reflects the remarkable work being conducted by our faculty, staff and students, work that is improving our nation, state and world and transforming lives."

Private philanthropy

The university received $416.2 million in total private philanthropy, including nongovernmental grants as well as contributions from individuals, businesses and foundations.

"This figure is a testament to the generosity of the alumni, friends, parents, companies, foundations and other organizations that support IU," McRobbie said. "These gifts help create the next generation of educators, artists, physicians and entrepreneurs, leaders who will have an impact on countless lives."

The total private philanthropy category includes a record $190.2 million in nongovernmental grants, a figure that is also included in the total for external research funding.

Even allowing for that, IU’s total private philanthropy and external research funding commitments totaled more than three-quarters of a billion dollars in fiscal 2015.

Economic development and entrepreneurship

Another priority of the Bicentennial Strategic Plan is to transform the IU Research and Technology Corp. to ensure that it provides the highest quality of support for entrepreneurial activity, enhances the application and transfer of knowledge, and fosters a pervasive entrepreneurial culture. Figures from fiscal 2015 demonstrate that the university is already seeing results from the effort, McRobbie said.

During the fiscal year, IU had a record 183 U.S. and global patents issued -- more than any other research institution in the state and a remarkable 254 percent increase over the previous year.

In addition to the nearly $100 million attracted by start-up businesses based on IU-licensed technologies, the university earned $6.81 million in gross royalty income, a 25 percent increase over the previous year. Since its inception in 1997, work with university clients by the IU Research and Technology Corp. has resulted in nearly $130 million in revenue through technology it has commercialized.

"IU has a unique and important role to play in contributing to the economic well-being of the state of Indiana, and the ability of our faculty to translate cutting-edge research into commercial technologies is at the heart of our work in this area," said William Stephan, vice president for engagement, whose office oversees all economic development activities at the university. "The performance indicators for 2015 reflect IU’s strong commitment to its home state as well as the depth of the intellectual talent among our faculty, students and staff."

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