Although Georgetown received more than $100 million in federal government funding for science and engineering research in fiscal year 2005, it lagged behind many peer institutions, according to a recent report by the National Science Foundation.

Georgetown’s $100.3 million total research portfolio earned the 93rd ranking among institutions surveyed. Johns Hopkins University ranked first, receiving $1.2 billion. Other schools, like Duke University, the University of Pennsylvania and Cornell University, all finished in the top 20.

Georgetown’s federal science and engineering funding increased by 4.7 percent over fiscal year 2004, when the university received $95.8 million. The average increase for all of institutions surveyed was slightly higher, at 5.6 percent. Georgetown’s federal funds placed it between the Woods Hole Oceanic Institution and Tufts University, which finished 92nd and 94th, respectively.

Georgetown’s low placement may be a reflection of its comparatively small science program and lack of an engineering school, said Jeffrey Urbach, chair of the physics department.

“It’s not surprising that the volume of externally sponsored research done here is lower than many other universities,” he said.

Urbach said that his department alone receives only about $1.5 million annually in research funding.

The $29.2 billion contributed by the federal government constituted the bulk of the $45.8 billion received by colleges and universities for such research. This year, industrial funding reached $2.3 billion, a 7.7 percent jump from last year, but still only accounted for a fraction of the funding. The other sources of funding are various non-profit organizations.

Caroline Lee (COL ’10), a biochemistry major, said that she does not think a lot of students are specifically attracted to the research opportunities at Georgetown.

“I haven’t found that many people interested in research,” she said.

The study shows a disproportionate amount of funding spread among high-powered research institutions: The top 20 ranked institutions out of the 640 surveyed received 30 percent of the total research grants. Each of the 640 schools spent at least $150,000 on research.

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