How Penn’s research enterprise works and grows


Research in millions of dollars

How It Has Grown

The University’s total research enterprise is worth more than half a billion dollars, and has nearly tripled since 1990. A large chunk of that increase comes from the federal government.


Share of total funding by source, 1992-2002

Where the Money Comes From

In addition to government and private support, Penn also backs research with its own money. The University Research Foundation spends almost $2 million annually and funds about 150 projects a year. Other ways it supports research include recruiting the best and the brightest faculty.


Top recipients of NIH funding in millions of dollars, Fiscal Year 2001

How We Rank

As the amount of NIH funding Penn has received has grown over the years, Penn’s rank among funded universities has risen along with it, from fourth place in fiscal year 1996 to second in fiscal 1998, where it has remained since. Since 1998, the funding gap between Penn and perennial NIH research leader Johns Hopkins has narrowed.

lab space

Growth of Penn lab space, in thousands of square feet

Room for Research

Besides building physical and intellectual space in which research can flourish, the University also lends institutional vision when it decides to grow certain areas of research. Examples of this type of building include recruiting faculty to new or expanding departments and establishing centers and institutes that encourage the free exchange of ideas. Penn is now exploring ways to build nanotechnology, genomics and stem cell research, for example.

Originally published on September 19, 2002