After starting the decade with the third-highest level of research and development spending in the country, the University of Wisconsin-Madison ended the 2010s ranked eighth in 2019. The ranking was the same as the previous year, even as total spending increased. New data from the National Science Foundation also sheds light on how research spending at other Wisconsin institutions compares nationally.
Rank in 2019 (Change since 2014)
Research spending (in millions)
Spending change since 2014
Medical College of Wisconsin
Milwaukee School of Engineering
The data also details where R&D dollars are spent. At UW-Madison, for example, 63% of spending goes to life sciences, followed by around 10% to engineering and around 7% to non-science and non-engineering fields. UW-Milwaukee’s spending is more evenly divided with no field accounting for more than a quarter of expenditures. Physical sciences lead at UWM with nearly 21% of dollars spent, followed by engineering at a little more than 18% and life sciences at 16%. A plurality of Marquette’s spending (49%) goes to mathematics and statistics, followed by life sciences at 35% and engineering at 24%.
Federal funding is the top R&D source at UW-Madison, UWM and the Medical College, accounting for between 43% and 49% of funding at those institutions. State and local funding plays a big role at UWM, accounting for 32% of funding, while it accounts for 7% of funding at Madison. Marquette drew a plurality of funding (40%) from its own institutional resources while 78% of MSOE funding came from businesses. MSOE’s share of research funding coming from businesses is the largest of the more than 600 schools included in the NSF data.