And while research is a major part of the mission of the university, NAU’s research enterprise also has a direct and deliberate impact on the university’s teaching mission. By investing in the human and physical resources needed to grow the research enterprise, we are also expanding academic capacity, and providing robust experiences for students in the classroom and in research labs.
In FY 2016, NAU’s research activity grew significantly, as measured by research expenditures. As reported to the National Science Foundation (NSF), NAU’s total research expenditures increased 12.5 percent over FY 2015 to $39.6 million, which exceeds our FY 2016 Enterprise Plan goal by 17 percent. Federally financed research expenditures increased by 15 percent over FY 2015. Since FY 2012, NAU’s research expenditures have grown 41 percent for total research expenditures and 46 percent for federally financed research expenditures. Industry-funded research expenditures increased 13 percent over the same five-year period. Overall, NAU is making excellent progress in growing our research activity, and we anticipate that investments made in FY 2017 to support additional research-intensive faculty will enable us to accelerate growth over the next decade.
A lack of suitable space in which to conduct research remains a major challenge. Net assignable square feet for research continues on a downward trend that began in 2013. In 2015-16, NAU experienced a 3.5 percent drop in net assignable research space, as reported to the NSF. We are finding innovative ways of managing this limitation, but longer-term solutions are critical. In FY 2016, we renovated space previously used for administrative purposes for the new, research-intensive School of Informatics, Computing and Cyber Systems (SICCS), which will add considerable research space to NAU’s Flagstaff campus. Efforts to meet current needs through re-purposing space will continue to be evaluated.
Efforts to reverse the downward trend in our tenured faculty population have been successful. In FY 2016, we reported 526 full-time, tenured and tenure-track faculty, up from a low of 512 in 2014. NAU continued to make major investments and bold decisions to recruit highly productive research faculty to Flagstaff in FY 2016. These efforts have been largely successful and will spark a trend of higher research activity, new graduate programs, increased innovation and a heightened impact on Arizona and across the state.
NAU primes educators to teach about space and Technology
Digitizing millions of butterfly
Investigating Rabbit Fever