The University of Louisiana at Lafayette Alumni Association will recognize Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, Feeding Americ
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette has surpassed $200 million in research and development spending for the first time in its history.
Dr. Joseph Savoie, UL Lafayette president, announced the milestone Wednesday during the State of the University address. The annual presentation to faculty and staff members marks the start of the fall semester and the new academic year. Classes at UL Lafayette begin Monday.
“A strong research landscape reflects the relentless pursuit of excellence embodied by our faculty, staff and graduate researchers who continue to explore the frontiers of knowledge to make discoveries that improve the human condition and preserve and promote our rich culture,” Savoie said.
UL Lafayette competes against other universities for federal and state grants, and private sector contracts. The University acts as a steward for the funds awarded to faculty and staff researchers.
According to the National Science Foundation’s Higher Education Research and Development Survey, the annual index of R&D spending, UL Lafayette expended $205.2 million in 2022, a 13% increase over the $181.4 million it spent the previous year.
In 2013, R&D spending at UL Lafayette stood at $62 million. Between that year and 2021, the University’s spending grew by 193%, a figure that rates UL Lafayette at No. 6 in the nation “in terms of the speed with which our research infrastructure has grown,” Savoie said.
The NSF index also places UL Lafayette among the top 100 public research universities in the nation, and R&D spending is one factor the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education uses to determine Research 1 status, its top tier. UL Lafayette achieved the designation in late 2021. Just 3% of public universities in the U.S. have R1 status.
Also during Wednesday’s State of the University, Savoie cited a recent independent analysis that revealed UL Lafayette had a $2.7 billion statewide economic impact last year.
The University supports one out of every 78 jobs in the state and one out of every 15 jobs in the Acadiana region. For every $1 invested in UL Lafayette, Louisiana residents receive $8 in added income and social savings.
“Anytime you can invest a dollar in something and get $8 in return – that’s a significant return on investment that reflects a status as a major economic force,” Savoie said.
Savoie’s presentation was the first since the University launched the yearlong observance of the 125th anniversary of its 1898 legislative founding.
“Without question, the last 125 years have been monumental. But the next 125 years will eclipse them,” he said. “With this milestone, we stand at the crossroads of what has been and what can be. From here, we look back on our history with pride. We look ahead to our future with purpose and – if we focus – we can see that tremendous opportunities await us.”
Find more from the State of the University here.
Graphic credit: University of Louisiana at Lafayette