U of L moves up research ranking list

The University of Lethbridge has moved up three places in a national ranking of Canada's Top 50 research universities.

With a 22 per cent increase in funding, well ahead of the national average of six per cent, the U of L's gain demonstrates the institution's strength in key research areas, according to Vice-President, Research, Dr. Dan Weeks.

The results were recently released by Research Infosource Inc. and based on Statistics Canada data and the Research Infosource Canadian University R&D database.

"During the reporting period (2007 to 2008), our research funding increased from $13 million to more than $16 million, and moved us up from 38th to 35th place, in the middle range of the top 50 group," Weeks said.

"Our researchers should be extremely proud of this accomplishment – it is proof that the U of L is successfully moving forward in many directions. As part of a strategic plan to increase our research presence and become a comprehensive research university, we were able to recruit people with innovative projects and resources to add to an already-successful group of faculty members."

Ron Freedman, CEO of Research Infosource, said that against the backdrop of a weakening economy, a six per cent national rise in overall research income growth came as a relief.

"With government sources accounting for about 70 per cent of all university research income, stable support from the public sector – the federal government in particular – is vital. Contrary to some recent statements, the public sector has obviously made a decision not to cut research support in an effort to protect and stabilize the post-secondary system."

Weeks added that, across the University, faculty are initiating many new projects which will enhance the U of L's ability to retain, and increase, its research presence nationally and internationally.

"Even in a tough economy, we are seeing great success in our research programs. I am pleased that we were among the top 15 universities to record significant percentages of overall research growth," Weeks said, adding that there are many more opportunities to broaden the
U of L's research portfolio.

"Recently, we received more than $7 million in federal and provincial funds to support our multi-disciplinary epigenetics research program. I am particularly excited about the opportunity for greater national leadership in social sciences research with Dr. Susan McDaniel now heading up the Prentice Institute for Global Population and the Economy. As well, Dr. David Naylor in our Physics and Astronomy department has a number of high profile projects planned, plus there are a host of other opportunities in biomedical science, neuroscience and imaging."