Virginia Tech's rank for agricultural and natural resource research spending jumped four places to sixth in 2007, up from tenth in 2006, in the National Science Foundation's (NSF) recently released nationwide ranking of programs.

“This consistent increase in agricultural and natural resource research spending over the past four years is testimony of the excellence of our dedicated faculty, students, and staff who are clearly the driver behind this success. Our faculty’s ability to secure extramural funding in spite of the highly competitive nature of federal and state grant funding and the hard budget times we are facing is remarkable,” said Sharron Quisenberry, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “This ranking shows that we are truly committed to providing state-of-the-art basic and applied research results to Virginians and the nation.”

In 2007, the National Science Foundation reported agricultural research and development dollars expended at Virginia Tech, which includes natural resources research spending as well, was approximately $92 million, an increase of close to $15 million over the 2006 figure.

“Our faculty are being recognized for their quality programs, which cross several disciplines across colleges and require the latest facilities and infrastructure for our researchers,” indicated J. Michael Kelly, dean of the College of Natural Resources. “We continuously strive to explore creative ways for supporting our faculty and their efforts across different colleges and programs within the university, which has become even more critical in recent years.”

The National Science Foundation defines agricultural science to include such disciplines as agricultural production, aquaculture, soil science, animal science, plant science, agronomy, forestry, fish and wildlife, wood and materials science, international agriculture, and many more.

Virginia Tech’s agricultural and natural resources research and development program accounted for 25 percent of the research spending at the university in 2007. With more than $366.9 million in research expenditures, Virginia Tech has the largest research program among Virginia universities.

The institutions ahead of Virginia Tech in the National Science Foundation rankings are the University of Florida; University of California, Davis; Purdue University; University of Georgia; and Mississippi State University. Virginia Tech moved past Michigan State University; Cornell University; Texas A & M University; and North Carolina State University in the rankings.

Nationally ranked among the top research institutions of its kind, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences focuses on the science and business of living systems through learning, discovery, and engagement. The college’s comprehensive curriculum gives more than 2,500 undergraduate students in a dozen academic departments a balanced education that ranges from food and fiber production to economics to human health. Students learn from the world’s leading agricultural scientists, who bring the latest science and technology into the classroom.

The College of Natural Resources at Virginia Tech consistently ranks among the top three programs of its kind in the nation. Faculty members stress both the technical and human elements of natural resources and instill in students a sense of stewardship and land-use ethics. Areas of studies include environmental resource management, fisheries and wildlife sciences, forestry, geospatial and environmental analysis, natural resource recreation, urban forestry, wood science and forest products, geography, and international development.

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