Research growth and ways to enhance student experiential learning were in the spotlight during the research committee report to the Board of Visitors this week at the Virginia Tech Research Center — Arlington.

Virginia Tech’s research expenditures leaped to more than a half a billion dollars in fiscal year 2014, according to Dennis Dean, interim vice president for research and innovation.

The 2014 total — $513.1 million – was provided to the National Science Foundation earlier this year and will be used to rank Virginia Tech among about 800 universities and colleges in the nation in the NSF’s annual survey of higher education research expenditures.

The NSF is expected to announce new rankings in November. Until then, Virginia Tech is No. 38 in the nation in NSF’s annual survey,

“We have made major investments to build our research profile,” Dean said. “We’ve created a structure and institute model that positions us for continued success. We expect increased faculty citations will follow in peer-reviewed science and engineering publications, as well as in arts, humanities, social science, and business journals.”

The report to the board pointed out growing numbers of studies by Virginia Tech faculty in publications such as The New England Journal of Medicine, Science Express, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences — indications that faculty are conducting high-impact research.

Among the goals and priorities for 2016 are to increase industry and corporate engagement and enhancement of Virginia Tech’s “Innovation Ecosystem,” particularly the student experience through entrepreneurial activities and living-learning communities.

Officials expect Virginia Tech graduates will reap benefits through continued integration of the disciplines.

“Our students are expected to know something about art and design,” he said. “If they are going to work for the Googles of the world, we need to provide them with that broader view.”

In addition to being the No. 38 academic research institution in the nation, Virginia Tech is the No. 1 research university in Virginia per the NSF, and the No. 23 public research university in the nation.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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