MSU again leads the state in research and development

More than half of all university research and development expenditures in the Magnolia State flow throw Mississippi State, according to the most recent National Science Foundation Higher Education Research and Development Survey.

The state’s largest research university, Mississippi State rose to No. 94 nationally among public and private institutions. The rankings are based on the university’s $226.4 million in total R&D expenditures for fiscal year 2015.

“The current funding environment for research across all disciplines has never been more competitive, so it’s gratifying to see our faculty competing well against our peers,” said David Shaw, Mississippi State’s vice president for research and economic development.

Mississippi State earns funding and support from business and industry, as well as local, state and federal government entities. This supports a diverse portfolio of research, which helped the university place in the top 50 for research expenditures in the agricultural sciences, computer science, the social sciences, and mechanical, aeronautical and electrical engineering.

While this research tackles a variety of complex global issues, its most immediate effects are seen in Mississippi, where the university spurs economic development and solves statewide issues.

For example, Mississippi State’s Research and Curriculum Unit works with the Mississippi Department of Education to develop and evaluate career and technical education in secondary schools, which helps the state’s high school students prepare to enter the modern workforce.

The university’s National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center manages a comprehensive, statewide data system that has assisted with industry recruitment and informing policy decisions. The State Longitudinal Data System was praised by state leaders during a summit held last fall in Starkville.

“We convert data into actionable intelligence. It can be a service, it can be a new technology, it can be anything to help state government operate in a more efficient way,” said Domenico ‘Mimmo’ Parisi, executive director of NSPARC.

“In the last 15 years, we’ve been able to do something no other state has been able to do,” he continued. “We have reduced the cost of government by making data part of the business operation. NSPARC brings that kind of capability and research that can change the way we do business as a state.”

The research conducted at MSU also improves Mississippi’s $8 billion agriculture and forestry economy. With over $106 million in agricultural research in fiscal year 2015, Mississippi State has been in the top 10 nationally in the field for 18 consecutive years.

“Our researchers, faculty and Extension specialists address real-world problems that affect people across our state and around the globe,” said Greg Bohach, vice president of the university’s Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine.

“We’re developing innovative and practical solutions to the agricultural challenges of producing food, fiber and fuel in the 21st century,” he added.

Mississippi State also has many resources dedicated to supporting Mississippi’s manufacturing industry, including the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems Extension center in Canton, which reported nearly $6 billion in economic impact from January 2006 through March 2016.

For more on the National Science Foundation and the annual Higher Education Research and Development Survey, visit More on MSU’s research and economic development efforts can be found at

By James Carskadon