December 1, 2021

Wayne State University continues to advance research and development, topping $320M in research awards, contracts and programs

DETROIT – Wayne State University announced a continued increase in research awards and sponsored research agreements, totaling over $320 million in fiscal year 2021 as the research and discovery environment ecosystem pivots forward from the last 20 months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The substantial growth in the programs reflects a broad commitment to this aspect of the university’s mission as an urban-serving public research university in Detroit and touches upon major thematic initiatives in cancer, cardiometabolic health and disease, environmental health sciences, health equity, chemical sciences, bio and systems engineering, and neurosciences.

This growth is driven by many factors including thematically-focused faculty recruitment,  strategic partnerships, focused research training programs, enabling technologies, cross-college/school partnerships, and the programmatic success of teams across all of Wayne State’s school and colleges and centers/institutes.

Funding from federal agencies for Wayne State’s research enterprise totaled $151 million and the National Institutes of Health led this sector, with over $100 million in grants and contracts — a $9 million increase from 2020 and a 29% increase from 2013.

Overall federal support for sponsored programs at the university in FY 2021 has increased by more than $50 million since FY 2013 providing a strong base for continued growth in this sector. State funding comprised 16% of Wayne State’s total research awards at $51.2 million, funding from corporations totaled 28% of the total research awards at nearly $91.2 million, and funding from foundations and other sources totaled more than $26.5 million.

“As Michigan’s only public, urban research university, Wayne State plays an important role in the discovery and dissemination of new knowledge that is critical to improving lives and directly impacts the health of our community,” said WSU President M. Roy Wilson.

A number of the university’s schools and colleges have experienced significant growth in research programs over the past six years. Since fiscal year 2016, research awards have grown more than $79 million — or 33% — to $320,113,902 in fiscal year 2021.  

“The accomplishments by our schools and colleges and the research support offices are something to celebrate,” said Stephen Lanier, vice president for Research. “Despite the challenges with the pandemic, including the disruption of business and support operations, multiple personal and professional challenges, laboratories often not able to run at full capacity, and managing all of the additional safety protocols put in place with the pandemic, our faculty, research staff and research and facility support offices continued to find ways to keep the research growth momentum in place and make a difference across the broad communities that we serve. Their hard work and efforts do not go unnoticed and have clearly had an impact.” 

About Wayne State University

Wayne State University is one of the nation’s pre-eminent public research universities in an urban setting. Through its multidisciplinary approach to research and education, and its ongoing collaboration with government, industry and other institutions, the university seeks to enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life in the city of Detroit, state of Michigan and throughout the world. For more information about research at Wayne State University, visit


Julie O'Connor
Phone: 313-577-8845

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