September 14, 2020

UL Lafayette President Announces Record R&D Milestone

UL Lafayette President Announces Record R&D Milestone

A remarkable milestone was announced this year by UL Lafayette President Joseph Savoie during his annual State of the University address; the milestone being that the university had broken records with $144 million spent towards expenditures in research and development last year, as reported by KATC.

As reported, 2019 was the third year in a row in which UL Lafayette spent more than $100 million on Research and Development (R&D), according to the conducted Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) Survey. This survey is the National Science Foundation’s annual indexing of United States colleges and university’s research spending.

Each year the University of Louisiana at Lafayette competes against other universities for both federal and state government grants as well as private sector contracts with the university acting as steward or the funds awarded to faculty and staff researchers.

The goal of increasing UL Lafayette R&D expenditures was set back seven years prior in 2013 with the accredited learning institution setting the goal of attaining $100 million in expenditures by 2020, though this might have been an undersight as the school had surpassed that expectation, achieving the goals three years sooner than expected- in 2017.

The record was broken yet again in the following year, 2018 with spending increasing to 124.7 million in the matter of a single year. This remarkable figure increase had placed UL Lafayette among the top 23 percent of the total 647 research universities included in the HERD survey.

Though this most recently announced $144 million figure has not yet been released by the National Science Foundation, the amount is the highest attained by ULL R&D to date, and it signifies an astounding achievement of the goal set in 2013.

President Savoie aptly referred to this achievement as “astonishing” when the milestone was communicated to faculty, staff, and students at the annual beginning of the semester address, which in previous years is delivered to nearly a thousand members of the University’s community in the Angelle Hall auditorium, but this year it was presented virtually as a result on the state of Louisiana’s restrictions on larger indoor gatherings.

As KATC reported from Savoie’s address, he had stated being that UL Lafayette is a public university, “in good times and in trying moments, the work we do should benefit the public. The research being done here does not stay here,” Savoie continued to say, “it is consequential and valuable to our society.”

The annual address serves as a way for the university president to set a tone for the start of the fall semester and new academic year, as classes at the four-year university officially began Thursday, August 17th. During the presentation, Savoie also reaffirmed UL Lafayette’s commitment to building a more diverse community on its campus, meeting the goals established in the Strategic Plan for Inclusive Excellence, a national framework adopted by multiple higher education learning institutions.

The Strategic Plan for Inclusive Excellence serves as a framework for enhancing equity, diversity, and inclusion across the school’s course offerings, hiring practices, student services and recruitment, and broader community outreach. Savoie also noted that the university’s increased efforts over the past decade to recruit and retain women and students of color are paying off.

In the 2019-2020 academic school year alone, the University awarded a record 3,610 degrees, and among those recipients receiving awards, there was a historic number of women, Black, Hispanic, and Asian graduates with the Spring 2020 graduation class being the largest and most diverse in the University’s 122-year legacy.

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