Friday, December 8, 2017 - 1:42pm

Terrific news about the overall impact of the research enterprise on campus:

The University of Georgia climbed seven spots to No. 54 among all U.S. universities, colleges and research institutions in the latest National Science Foundation Higher Education Research and Development rankings.

"This is dramatic progress," said Vice President for Research David Lee. "Institutions normally rise or fall in these rankings a spot or two at a time."

In the new rankings, which reflect fiscal year 2016, UGA's total research expenditures reached $410 million, up from $374 million and a ranking of 61st the year before. UGA also advanced on the basis of federally supported research expenditures, ranking 79th with $144 million, up eight spots from the prior year. Data for fiscal year 2017 show continued growth in research activity, with $458 million in total research and development expenditures-an increase of 12 percent over fiscal year 2016.

We report on individual instances of research excellence all the time - newly-published scholarship, grants and awards, new interdisciplinary collaborations - but it is instructive to take stock collectively from time to time, as presented in these new NSF HERD rankings. In the course of that reporting and writing, we get to meet, talk with and learn from many great people in practically every field. And one thing is abundantly clear: the university is led by tremendous faculty intellectual capacity in the labs as well as the classrooms. A lot of effort and resources go into the putting that capacity in place and supporting its endeavors. But the people make the difference, and this is a solid acknowledgement of the university's progress on the wings of its amazing faculty.