photo of a magnifying glass enlarging the word research

Six programs at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) rank among the top 25 federally-funded programs in the United States, according to the National Science Foundation (NSF) Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) Survey.

The new ranking comes as UAH has also achieved the rank of “R1 – Very high research activity” status among doctoral-granting universities in the current update of the Carnegie Classification of Institutes of Higher Education.

The R-1 ranking places UAH – which was launched from America's quest to conquer space and is a part of the University of Alabama System – in an elite group of doctoral-granting universities nationally that apply the most resources and scientists to research at their institutions. The rankings are performed every three years.

“The HERD rankings and the R-1 designation are strong indications that UAH’s research enterprises are among the best in the United States,” says Dr. Chuck Karr, interim UAH president.

“This high level of achievement is because of the confidence and support of our Huntsville partners in government and industry, the support of our state and federal delegations and the outstanding work of UAH’s research centers, faculty, students and administration,” says Dr. Karr.

“The university’s national research standings demonstrate UAH’s continuous improvement in providing support to the university’s federal and private industry research partners, on Redstone Arsenal and in Cummings Research Park,” says Dr. John Christy, interim vice president for research and economic development.

The newly-announced NSF HERD Survey covers fiscal year 2020 and ranks UAH overall:

  • #6 in federally-financed aerospace/aeronautical/astronautical engineering research expenditures;
  • #9 in federally-financed computer and information sciences research expenditures;
  • #10 in federally-financed atmospheric science and meteorology research expenditures;
  • #13 in federally-financed astronomy and astrophysics research expenditures;
  • #18 in federally-financed industrial and manufacturing engineering research expenditures.
  • #22 in federally-financed economics research expenditures

The university ranks 12th in NASA-funded research expenditures and 19th in Department of Defense-funded research expenditures.

UAH’s investigators conduct research in engineering, the sciences, business, nursing, education, the arts, humanities and social sciences, and the university has robust capabilities in fields such as astrophysics, cybersecurity, data analytics, logistics and supply chain management, optical systems and engineering, reliability and failure analysis, rotorcraft and unmanned systems, severe weather, space propulsion and more.

UAH is home to 17 centers and institutes dedicated to research. The university supplies a highly-educated workforce to the State of Alabama, with 72% of its alumni residing in-state.

“Being rated at the highest level of research activity attracts the brightest and most curious minds, both in our students and our researchers, to become part of our team,” Dr. Christy says. “It alerts those who need new knowledge and discoveries that we have the expertise to provide answers.”