Pacific Tops List Of Northwest's Private Research Institutions

Student And Professor Working Together In Chemistry LabFor the fourth time in five years, Pacific University ranks as the top private research university in the Pacific Northwest.

The designation comes from the National Science Foundation’s annual Higher Education Research and Development Survey, which ranks over 600 colleges and universities in the U.S. based on their investment in research.

During the 2022 fiscal year, Pacific expended more than $6.1 million in research and development. The expenditures are the most among private colleges in Oregon and rank fifth in the state among institutions of higher education, behind Oregon’s four largest public universities.

Pacific ranked 13th in research and development spending among all West Coast private institutions. The ranking places Pacific in a select group with such institutions as Stanford University, the University of Southern California and the California Institute of Technology.

Nearly $2.7 million was expended on research sponsored by the federal government while $498,000 came from state and local governments.

“Research is becoming a larger part of both the student and faculty experience at Pacific," said Jo Isgrigg, director of the university's Office of Scholarship & Sponsored Projects. “These investments enhance not only our faculty leading the research but our undergraduate and graduate students who partner with faculty on a wide range of exciting research projects. 

“This achievement is shared across the university – everyone, every department contributes to this ranking. This is a wonderful success story that reflects the extraordinary teamwork and community at Pacific.”

Often a staple of large public universities, research has become an increasingly prominent part of Pacific’s vision over the past decade.

Recent research and development grant awards for Pacific faculty and students include:

• A $633,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education received by College of Education Professor Steve Rhine for the research of digital tools for teaching elementary school mathematics and the development of a toolkit for teachers.

• A $1.9 million National Institutes of Health grant to School of Graduate Psychology Associate Professor Jenelle Shanley for her research on the effectiveness of implementing an evidence-based parenting program to address child maltreatment and non-communicable diseases.

• A $25,000 National Endowment for the Humanities collaborative research grant won by Professor of German Lorely French for her work to transcribe and translate 33 unpublished notebooks of noted Austrian artist and Roma Holocaust survivor Ceija Stojka.

• A $286,000 grant from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service awarded to Biology Professor Rich Van Buskirk to work with colleagues across Oregon and Washington on “Combining Research With Practical Management Techniques To Restore Native Species and Recover The Oregon Silverspot Butterfly.”

• A $90,000 grant from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention awarded to Assistant Professor of Graduate Psychology Emily Bower for her study of “Suicide Risk Associated With Subjective Cognitive Decline In Community-Dwelling Older Adults.”

In addition to the grants, Pacific co-hosted the annual Murdock College Science Research Conference in November in conjunction with the Murdock Trust. A total of 17 students presented at the conference while eight faculty mentors attended and judged presentations.

Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023