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WSU Research Facts and Figures

Facts and figures

Numbers tell a story of the powerful economic impact of WSU research

Washington State University is one of just 115 U.S. public and private universities—out of 4,500+—singled out for its “highest research activity” in the Carnegie Classification.

Sponsored project awards

Sponsored project awards received 0 $50,000,000 $100,000,000 $150,000,000 $200,000,000 $250,000,000 FY 2015 FY 2016 $137,237,387 $140,714,791 $59,852,123 $78,454,069 $197,089,510 $219,168,860 Non-federal Federal

Commercialization activity

Commercialization activity 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 66 103 113 124 194 250 232 285 83 69 61 95 43 49 55 71 4 5 9 7 2013 2014 2015 2016 Disclosures Inventions Patent applications U.S. licensesissued Number ofstartups


  • Transforming leadership to achieve equity in education

    Building parent participation and shifting administrator mindsets

    In 2010, 47 percent of children under the age of five belonged to a racial or ethnic minority group[1]. That statistic signifies a shift in the demographics of tomorrow’s classrooms.

    As the nation’s K-12 students become increasingly diverse, school environments, educational policies, and teaching best practices must take students’ cultural backgrounds into account. Research of Dr. Katherine Rodela anticipates changes needed in K-12 schools. The educational leadership professor is rethinking the role of parent leadership in school systems. She is also examining how district leaders can develop an equity mindset—the belief that by engaging members of … » More …

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  • Multimillion dollar grant to support nuclear waste cleanup

    Research probes how radiation changes nuclear waste over time

    Safe management of nuclear waste is vital to national security and a primary mission of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Approximately 300 million liters of highly radioactive wastes are stored in underground tanks at the Hanford Site in Washington and the Savannah River Site in South Carolina.

    Wastes stored in tanks at Hanford have been there for decades. Radiation present in the wastes drives chemical changes that are neither well understood nor predictable. DOE estimates it will take at least 50 years and $300 billion to process the wastes into forms fit for disposal using … » More …

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  • Student research

    Innovation spawns entrepreneurial venture

    Every year, reused and infected hypodermic needles cause 1.3 million deaths. Two 2016 WSU bioengineering graduates developed a cost-effective solution.

    Emily Willard and Katherine Brandenstein designed a sterilizing cap that fits over the opening of a vaccine vial, decontaminating needles to help save lives. Both young women are researchers at heart, but dove into the world of business to turn their discoveries into a technology for commercialization. With help from entrepreneurship experts at WSU, Willard and Brandenstein developed a prototype of their product and launched a company.

    The duo won the WSU Business Plan competition and the University of Washington’s first … » More …

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  • Supplying food, energy, and water for future generations

    Helping the Columbia Basin withstand climate change

    In Washington’s Columbia River basin, climate change has diminished snow storage, a significant source of summer water for the region. At the same time, population growth is escalating demand for water.

    The basin is home to farms and ranches that feed the state. Hydropower generates more than half of the Pacific Northwest’s electricity, most coming from the Columbia River.1 Resources must be deftly managed to develop the region’s resilience to climate change.

    Population growth and climate change strain interdependent food, energy and water systems. WSU researchers have long studied each of these systems alone. A recent $3 million grant from the National … » More …

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  • Promoting an informed and equitable society

    Preserving indigenous traditions in digital form

    A complete picture of U.S. history requires the information held in tribal archives, libraries, and museums (TALMs). While many major libraries and museums now digitize their collections for access and use, many TALMs lack the resources to do so. In addition, traditional content management systems are organized under Western standards, not allowing for local narrations and other cultural practices and protocols important to archiving Native heritage.

    Digitally preserving and sharing stories, artifacts, and images from diverse cultures is important in a technologically advancing world. WSU researcher Kim Christen is ensuring that digital history includes Native American voices stored and … » More …

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  • Innovation for Washington’s signature industry

    WSU created a brand new apple variety called Cosmic Crisp™, known for its excellent flavor, good texture, and superior storage. Cosmic Crisp™ is a cross between Enterprise and Honeycrisp.

    More than 600,000 trees are expected to be planted this spring, and growers have ordered over 5 million trees for 2018. First harvest will be in 2019. Fruit will become widely available to consumers in 2020.

    Cosmic Crisp™ is the latest example of WSU’s world-class tree fruit breeding program and the University’s commitment to the state’s tree-fruit industry.

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See all 2016 highlights

Office of Research Annual Report

2016 (pdf)

2015 (pdf)

2014 (pdf)

2013 (pdf)

By the numbers


Research and public service expenditures

$381 million (FY 2015)

Sponsored program expenditures

$191 million (FY 2016)

Growth in research and development expenditures

Total expenditures
$ in thousands

2003 $175,789
2004 $175,144
2005 $185,282
2006 $203,540
2007 $213,262
2008 $283,086
2009 $301,080
2010 $304,352
2011 $320,510
2012 $335,930
2013 $341,082
2014 $326,414
2015 $333,134

Significant federal funding for research

With $191 million in total sponsored program expenditures (FY 2016), WSU is among the nation’s top land-grant research universities.

Other federal agencies $3,791,072

Department of Agriculture $38,078,370
Department of Health and Human Services $26,338,989
National Science Foundation $17,993,070
Department of Energy $17,206,882
Department of Education $9,245,798
Department of Defense $7,655,560
U.S. Agency for International Development $3,122,646
Small Business Administration $2,411,865
Department of Transportation $2,000,481
Department of Commerce $1,501,232
Total federal $129,345,965

Broad support from non-federal sources

Fiscal year 2016 expenses by non-federal program

Washington state governments $25,420,031
Private foundations and institutes and other nonprofit $9,122,596
Washington commissions $6,898,313
Business concerns and corporations for profit $6,151,743
Local governments $5,899,182
Schools, colleges, and universities $1,916,879
Foreign sponsors $1,716,493
Other non-federal programs $4,752,901
Total non-federal $61,878,140

Leading private-sector research projects in FY 2016

Research collaborations with private industry boost the state’s economic health and answer complex societal concerns.

Industry sponsor Research project
United Air Lines Fatigue Risk Management System Route Studies
Principal investigator: Greg Belenky, $879,171
Genus PLC In vitro Expansion of Bovine Spermatogonial Stem cells
Principal investigator: Jon Oatley, $720,090
Merck & Co. Improving Neuromuscular Monitoring Rates: A Local and Regional Approach
Principal investigator: Darryl Duvall, $322,246
Chemring Detection Systems Development of a Breathalyzer for Drugged Driving
Principal investigator: Herb Hill, $309,000
Spring Bank Pharmaceuticals Effect of SB compound on respiratory virus pathogenesis in mice (phase II)
Principal investigator: Santanu Bose, $302,000

Leading Washington commodity commission research projects in FY 2016

Research collaborations with the state’s commodity commissions support production of food and agricultural products throughout Washington.

Commission sponsor Research project
Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission Apple Scion Breeding Program
Principal investigator: Katherine Evans, $179,045
Washington Grain Commission Field Breeding Soft White Winter Wheat
Principal investigator: Arron Carter, $172,694
Washington Grain Commission Improving Spring Wheat Varieties for the PNW
Principal investigator: Michael Pumphrey, $170,023
Washington Grain Commission Variety Evaluation Wheat
Principal investigator: Ryan Higginbotham, $135,000
Washington Grain Commission Greenhouse and Laboratory Efforts for Spring Wheat Variety Development
Principal investigator: Michael Pumphrey, $131,484
Washington Grain Commission Improving Barley Varieties for Feed, Food and Malt
Principal investigator: Kevin Murphy, $129,101
Washington Grain Commission BioTechnology for Wheat Improvement
Principal investigator: Arron Carter, $121,744
Washington Wine Commission Management of Phenolic Compounds in Vineyard and Winter: Investigation of Mechanical Pruning
Principal investigator: James Harbertson, $105,000

Research spanning many disciplines

Highest sponsored expenditures by area/college for Fiscal Year 2016

CAHNRS Office of Research $44,796,461
WSU Extension $28,857,551
College of Arts and Sciences $26,014,536
Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture $21,143,084
College of Veterinary Medicine $19,627,167

Commercialization on the rise

Invention disclosures
2011: 61
2012: 64
2013: 66
2014: 103
2015: 113

Active inventions
2011: 148
2012: 168
2013: 194
2014: 250
2015: 232

Patent applications
2011: 60
2012: 85
2013: 83
2014: 69
2015: 61

Licenses issued
2011: 15
2012: 30
2013: 43
2014: 49
2015: 55

Number of startups
2011: 3
2012: 6
2013: 4
2014: 5
2015: 9

Royalty revenue
2011: $548,439
2012: $631,963
2013: $814,907
2014: $984,785
2015: $1,255,399

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