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Seven Old Dominion University programs rank among the nation's Top 100 in research and development (R&D) expenditure categories reported this month by the National Science Foundation.

The high-ranking programs are aeronautical engineering, electrical engineering, oceanography, mechanical engineering, education, civil engineering and mathematics, according to the R&D data for fiscal year 2004 released by the NSF.

The university is ranked 74th in the nation for overall engineering R&D expenditures. As a subcategory, aeronautical engineering garners ODU's highest ranking, at 21st.

Engineering results for ODU this year are generally higher across the board. R&D expenditures for 2003, which were reported last summer by the NSF, placed ODU at 90th for overall engineering and 26th for aeronautical engineering.

"This is excellent progress," said ODU president Roseann Runte, who is the chief proponent of the school's strategic-plan goal to break into the nation's Top 100 in overall research ranking. "One can easily see the improvement and how it will continue."

Among the 601 colleges and universities included in the survey, ODU is 181st in total R&D expenditures, rising six places from 187th in the report last year.

Mohammad A. Karim, ODU vice president for research, said he believes university researchers are on the right trajectory. "Engineering and all its subfields have moved ahead, beyond where they were a year ago. This year, we are seeing mathematics, oceanography and education also in the league. With significant efforts that are ongoing, I envision other fields also rising in the rankings in the near future."

Some ODU rankings from the latest NSF report:
· Electrical engineering: 28th in total expenditures, 30th in federal expenditures
· Oceanography: 37th in federal expenditures
· Mechanical engineering: 71st in federal expenditures; 83rd in total expenditures
· Education: 58th in federal expenditures
· Civil engineering: 80th in federal expenditures; 83rd in total expenditures
· Mathematics: 97th in federal expenditures
· ODU overall: 42nd in NASA expenditures
· ODU overall: 86th in Department of Defense expenditures

"Several years back, engineering established a number of centers and institutes to energize the research enterprise," said Oktay Baysal, dean of ODU's Batten College of Engineering and Technology. "What we are seeing is a direct result of their success. We have now added six research clusters with the goal of getting us into the top 50."

Richard Gregory, dean of the College of Sciences, said the results for mathematics are impressive because of the large number of math programs in the hunt for research dollars. "With oceanography, we have come to expect our department to be highly productive, doing research in all of the oceans of the world."

This article was posted on: August 18, 2006

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