UK climbs among national peers in higher ed research rankings

microscope in dark room
The University of Kentucky climbed several spots in R&D national rankings. Mark Cornelison | UK Photo

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 23, 2024) — The University of Kentucky climbed several spots in national higher education rankings for research and development (R&D) expenditures. 

Based on UK’s $476.5 million in research expenditures – the funds the university spent to conduct research in fiscal year 2022, as reported to the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics:

  • UK ranks 61st among 637 public and private universities in the United States, up from 64th in FY21. 
  • UK ranks 40th among 410 public universities, up from 43rd in FY21. 
  • UK ranks 5th out of 14 Southeastern Conference (SEC) institutions. 

Vice President for Research Lisa Cassis said, “It is incredibly challenging to move up in these national rankings on research and development expenditures. The University of Kentucky’s research enterprise has experienced record growth, but that growth, and related elevation in national ranking, starts with our principal investigators who work across academic boundaries to bring the best ideas to light. This is a testament to the creativity and innovation of the faculty, staff and students who make up our research investigator community at UK. Their tireless work continues to propel the university forward.”

The FY22 rankings were released in December 2023. The National Science Foundation (NSF), through the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES), publishes the Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) Survey each year ranking the top U.S. universities according to what they spend on research. The HERD survey is considered to be the primary source of information on R&D expenditures within academia. For more information, see NSF Publications & Data.

For more on UK research, see Stats & Rankings

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.