UMass Research Portfolio Soars to Record-High $670 Million

Research expenditures grew by nearly $40 million in FY17
UMass system logo

BOSTON – Research expenditures at the University of Massachusetts rose to a record-high $670 million in fiscal year 2017, up $37 million over the previous year and $270 million since 2007. 

Propelled by growth at UMass Medical School, UMass Amherst, UMass Boston and UMass Lowell, this was the largest single-year increase in research funding at UMass in nearly a decade.

“This dramatic growth reflects the rising impact of our research enterprise and the groundbreaking work being conducted by our faculty,” said President Marty Meehan. “I’m proud of the dedicated researchers across our five campuses, who are working every day to advance knowledge and improve lives in the Commonwealth, across the nation and around the world.”

At UMass Medical School, research expenditures rose by nearly $27 million, or 10.6 percent, to a total of $279.9 million, while UMass Amherst’s research expenditures grew by more than $5 million in FY17, or 2.5 percent, to $219.9 million. UMass Boston grew its research expenditures by nearly 10 percent, up $6 million from the prior year. UMass Lowell grew by 1.7 percent, or $1.2 million.

The majority of research conducted at UMass is externally funded, with $377 million, or 56 percent, coming from federal agencies like the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Department of Defense (DOD). Institutional funds were the next largest source of funding, at 27 percent, followed by 9 percent from industry and 7 percent from state and local governments.

UMass is the third-largest research university in Massachusetts, trailing only Harvard and MIT, and the fourth-largest in all of New England.

Recent research highlights from the UMass campuses include:

  • A new partnership between UMass Amherst and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to support the Computable Knowledge project, which is using artificial intelligence to facilitate breakthroughs in scientific research and development

  • Researchers from UMass Boston’s Sustainable Solutions Lab studying climate change mitigation strategies – including the feasibility of a Boston Harbor seawall – with a $360,000 grant from the Barr Foundation

  • The opening of UMass Dartmouth’s School for Marine Science and Technology East building, which tripled the university’s marine science research footprint in New Bedford, the nation’s top fishing port and an emerging center of offshore wind energy development

  • The creation of the Fabric Discovery Center at UMass Lowell, which will revolutionize the way fabrics are made thanks in part to a $10 million grant from the Baker-Polito Administration

  • The establishment of an institute for rare diseases research at UMass Medical School with a $10 million endowment gift from the Li Weibo Charitable Foundation


Research at UMass is concentrated in areas of importance to the Massachusetts economy, including the life sciences, advanced manufacturing, climate science, marine science and engineering. More than 90 percent of UMass research is in science and engineering, and more than half is in the life sciences.