By GSH Staff

Over half of all research activity conducted in the United States takes place at research universities. These hubs of academic discovery are credited with groundbreaking research including life-saving drugs, medical treatments, and vaccines as well as the latest and greatest advancements in engineering and technology.

From a student’s perspective, graduate research institutes provide opportunities for hands-on learning, fellowships, and even prestige. Thus, prospective grad students with dreams of becoming leaders in their respective fields would be wise to identify the schools and research institutes known for their high research activity and expenditures, cutting-edge facilities and resources, and innovative approaches to collaborative study. To help with this discovery process, our team of editors has identified the very best institutes at the top research universities around the country. The initial pool of research universities is drawn from universities with a Carnegie classification of R1: Research Universities (Highest research activity).

Rating and Ranking Methodology

-University R&D Expenditures

  • Over $2 million – 3 points
  • Over $1 million – 2 points
  • Over $500,000 – 1 point

-Awards and Recognition (Related to Research)

  • National Level – 2 points
  • Regional Level – 1 point

-LEED Certified Facilities

  • Platinum – 3 points
  • Gold – 2 points
  • Silver – 1 point

-Interdisciplinary Approach – 1 point

-MGP (Majority Graduate/Professional) Enrollment – 1 point

-RU/VH (Very High Research Activity) – 1 point

-“Wow” Factor –1 point awarded for each feature that “wowed” us

Best Graduate Research Institutes

The research institutes that we present below are exceptional in that they receive support and funding from the most active graduate research universities in the country. These are institutions with the most updated facilities and interdisciplinary programs in the nation.

We have applied the rating and ranking methodology above and listed them here in descending order. In the case of a tie, we awarded the higher ranking to the most affordable school affiliated with the research institute. Please note that the dollar amounts listed for R&D expenditures represent thousands of dollars. For example, an expenditure listed as $200,000 actually indicates a figure of $200 million

50. Emory Global Health Institute

Emory University

Atlanta, GA


Points: 3
R&D Expenditures: $558,600
Out-of-State Tuition: $37,800

Emory Global Health Institute was founded in 2006 in accordance with Emory University’s 2005-2015 strategic plan. The Institute works to solve global health problems by facilitating interdisciplinary research, forming strong alliances with global health partners, and training the next generation of leaders in global health. At the institute, faculty and student researchers explore topics such as drug discovery, health care delivery, migrant health, and vaccines. EGHI oversees a variety of programs for graduate students including the Emory Global Health Case Competition, the Field Scholars Awards Program, and the Global Health Scholars Symposium.

More Information on Emory University

49. Center for Drug Use and HIV Research

New York University

New York, NY


Points: 3
R&D Expenditures: $523,623
Out-of-State Tuition: $37,296

The Center for Drug Use and HIV Research is the first center for socio-behavioral study of substance abuse and HIV in the country. Funded by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the center seeks to end the HIV epidemic amongst drug users by conducting interdisciplinary research to inform program and policy initiatives. CDUHR is constantly expanding and is now comprised of over 75 affiliated investigators, up from only 6 when the center was established in 1998. Faculty and graduate students conducting research at the center collaborate with colleagues from three other institutions: Mount Sinai, the National Development & Research Institutes, Inc., and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

More information on New York University

48. IIHR – Hydroscience and Engineering

University of Iowa

Iowa City, IA


Points: 3
R&D Expenditures: $449,147
Out-of-State Tuition: $25,134

Headquarter ed in the C. Maxwell Stanley Hydraulics Laboratory, the IIHR- Hydroscience & Engineering at the University of Iowa is a multi-disciplinary institute dedicated to the study of basic fluid mechanics, laboratory experimentation, and computational approaches to understanding water. Currently, approximately 90 graduate students are participating in active research at IIHR, most of them on PhD tracks. About half of these students are international students, and collectively, they represent sixteen different countries. The institute is home to the Iowa Flood Center, the first university-based center in the country dedicated to the study of floods.

More information on the University of Iowa

47. Institute for Research in Electronics & Applied Physics

University of Maryland – College Park

College Park, MD


Points: 3
R&D Expenditures: $485,051
Out-of-State Tuition: $23,364

The Institute for Research in Electronics & Applied Physics is an interdisciplinary research institute that encourages faculty and student collaboration among the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences and the A. James Clark School of Engineering. The institute’s areas of focus include high-temperature plasma physics, microwave electronics, biophysics, nanoscience, nanotechnology, and plasma spectroscopy. Graduate students work on their dissertations alongside the institute’s 35+ faculty members and benefit from presentations of visiting scientists. In addition to graduate research, the institute also sponsors TREND, an undergraduate research program affiliated with the National Science Center.

More information on the University of Maryland

46. Plants for Human Health Institute

North Carolina State University

Kannapolis, NC


Points: 3
R&D Expenditures: $446,112
Out-of-State Tuition: $21,311

The Plants for Human Health Institute at North Carolina State University is affiliated with the school’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, the institute consults with faculty from the departments of horticulture science, bioprocessing and nutrition sciences, and plant and microbial biology among others. Their combined mission is to conduct cutting-edge research in the hopes of uncovering plant-based solutions to human health issues. Among the current research projects at the institute is the study of the anti-cancer and anti-diabetic properties of blueberries as well as their ability to treat Parkinson’s disease.

More information on North Carolina State University 

45. Utah High Energy Astrophysics Institute

The University of Utah

Salt Lake City, UT


Points: 3
R&D Expenditures: $486,140
Out-of-State Tuition: $21,247

The Utah High Energy Astrophysics Unit at the University of Utah was established in 1991 with the goal of providing resources and support to visiting scientists. In 1998, the mission of the institute grew to include the facilitation of collaborative study among astrophysics researchers throughout the state. Today, faculty members and graduate students probe topics such as cosmology, galaxy formation, quark-gluon plasma, and general relativity. In conjunction with the university’s South Physics Observatory, the institute works to promote public understanding and support of the field of astrophysics.

More information on the University of Utah

44. Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Institute

University of Colorado – Denver

Denver, CO


Points: 3
R&D Expenditures: $411,020
Out-of-State Tuition: $20,556

Thanks to a $6.5 million grant from The Anschutz Foundation, the Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Institute has recently expanded. The new 38,000-square-foot will house new labs where ophthalmologists, scientists, and graduate students will continue to study eye health. Notably, Institute scientists were the first in the country to perform femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery. It was also the first eye institute to research retina stimulation with photovoltaic nanoparticles, a procedure that could reverse retinal diseases that cause blindness.

More information on the University of Colorado – Denver

43. Becker Friedman Institute for Research in Economics

University of Chicago

Chicago, IL


Points: 4
R&D Expenditures: $390,082
Out-of-State Tuition: $49,644

Established in 2011, the Gary Becker Milton Friedman Institute for Research in Economics brings together the most prominent minds in economics. In fact, nearly 50 renowned scholars visit the institute each year to deliver compelling presentations, many of them from other countries. The institute’s interdisciplinary approach fosters collaboration among professors and students from the Booth School of Business, the Department of Economics, the Law School, and the Harris School of Public Policy as they study topics such as long-term federal debt, economic growth, climate change, and health care finance.

More information on the University of Chicago

#42. Center for Biomedical Informatics

Washington University in St. Louis

Saint Louis, MO

Center for Biomedical Informatics Washington University in St. Louis

Points: 4
R&D Expenditures: $664,752
Out-of-State Tuition: $45,700

Founded in 2007, the Center for Biomedical Informatics at Washington University in St. Louis is a partnership with BJC Healthcare. The Center is comprised of fourteen divisions including the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, the Center for Computational Biology, the Siteman Cancer Center, and the Center for Kidney Disease Research. Graduate students engaged in research at the institute may be involved in the study of a variety of different topics at the university such as Molecular Genetics and Genomics, Human and Statistical Genetics, Computational Biology, and Genetic Epidemiology.

More information on Washington University in St. Louis

#41. Institute of Imaging Science

Vanderbilt University

Nashville, TN


Points: 4
R&D Expenditures: $683,890
Out-of-State Tuition: $42,768

The Institute of Imaging Science at Vanderbilt University is housed within a four-floor, 42,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility. The $28 million project was built in 2007 to accommodate the research activities of 42 faculty members and over 80 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. The Institute is comprised of five different centers including the Center for Small Animal Imaging, the Center for Human Aging, and the Center for Computational Imaging. As an interdisciplinary research institute, VUIIS collaborates with many different colleges and departments across the university including the schools of medicine, engineering, law, and arts and sciences.

More information on Vanderbilt University

40. Case Center for Synchrotron Biosciences

Case Western Reserve University

Cleveland, Ohio


Points: 4
R&D Expenditures: $419,011
Out-of-State Tuition: $39,842

The Case Center for Synchrotron Biosciences at Case Western University conducts research in the following three areas: spectroscopy, hydroxyl radical footprinting, and crystallography. Currently, the Center is working on the construction of the National Synchrotron Light Source II, a state-of-the-art electron storage ring that will enable researchers to produce x-rays more than ten times brighter than the original NSLS. It is also collaborating with the National Science Foundation to create a new technology in synchrotron footprinting called the XFP beamline.

More information on Case Western Reserve University

39. Bioeconomy Institute

Michigan State University

East Lansing, MI


Points: 4
R&D Expenditures: $526,906
Out-of-State Tuition: $30,456

The Bioeconomy Institute at Michigan State University conducts research and provides resources in an effort to support companies in their efforts to employ sustainable practices. The 138,000-square-foot facility is comprised of 31,000 square feet of laboratories, which is used by approximately 125 researchers, as well as a 105-seat auditorium and over 60 professional offices. Recently, a consortium headquartered at the Institute received one of just 6 “i6 Green Challenge” grants from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration.

More information on Michigan State University

38. Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Urbana, IL


Points: 4
R&D Expenditures: $621,733
Out-of-State Tuition: $27,435

Established in 1983, the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology is a hub of interdisciplinary research organized around four research themes: Biological Intelligence, Human-Computer Intelligent Interaction, Integrative Imaging, and Molecular and Electronic Nanostructures. The Institute is housed within a 313,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility comprised of specialized laboratories, offices, and meeting spaces. Graduate students are afforded the opportunity to engage in research at the Institute through the Beckman Graduate Fellows Program funded by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation.

More information on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

37. Institute for Global Health

University of Maryland – Baltimore

Baltimore, MD


Points: 4
R&D Expenditures: $411,268
Out-of-State Tuition: $26,927

The Institute of Global Health at The University of Maryland is committed to uncovering new and better ways of treating, controlling, and eliminating diseases that affect people around the world such as malaria, Ebola, measles, and others. Today, the institute is comprised of two departments: the Center for Vaccine Development and the Division of Malaria Research. Over 30 faculty physicians and scientists perform groundbreaking research at the IGH. Its collaborative approach invites interdisciplinary work with of other departments and schools within and beyond the university’s School of Medicine.

More information at the University of Maryland – Baltimore

36. Institute of Engineering in Medicine

University of California – San Diego

La Jolla, CA


Points: 4
R&D Expenditures: $1,042,841
Out-of-State Tuition: $26,322

Established in 2008, The Institute of Engineering in Medicine at the University of California – San Diego now has over 130 faculty members. These faculty members come from three distinct schools—the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, the Jacobs School of Engineering, and the School of Medicine. The Institute works to apply engineering to medicine in a way that provides practical solutions to common medical issues. Using technology such as imaging, nanotechnology, tissue engineering and vaccine engineering, the IEM tackles diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease, metabolic disorders, and neurodegenerative diseases.

More information on the University of California San Diego

35. Waisman Center

University of Wisconsin – Madison


Points: 4
R&D Expenditures: $1,192,513
Out-of-State Tuition: $24,054

UW Madison’s Waisman Center was founded in order to promote knowledge of human development, developmental disabilities, and neurodegenerative diseases. It is home to both a Eunice Kennedy Shriver Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center and a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities. Graduate students in behavioral, biological, and social sciences work alongside faculty members from 25 different university departments as they probe such topics as social development, language acquisition, and the role of family in human development. In addition to its research efforts, the Waisman Center also provides training for students as well as services for the developmentally disabled and their families.

More information on the University of Wisconsin Madison

34. Center for Drug Discovery and Innovation

University of South Florida

Tampa, FL


Points: 4
R&D Expenditures: $488,641
Out-of-State Tuition: $19,047

Designated as a Florida Center of Excellence, The Center for Drug Discovery and Innovation (CDDI) is committed to the development of modern drug treatments to combat disease. The Institute’s core facilities support its primary research areas, which include small molecule production and the molecular analysis of proteins. These facilities include the Chemodiversity Facility, the Proteomics Facility, and the High Field NMR Core Facility. Among its most current research breakthroughs is findings related to the spread of malaria, which could result in life-saving treatments.

More information on the University of South Florida

33. Children’s Medical Center Research Institute

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Dallas, TX


R&D Expenditures: $434,627
Out-of-State Tuition: $14,656

The primary mission of the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center is to study metabolic disturbances and how they affect diseases, especially cancer. Here, scientists, doctors, and students work to detect these disturbances, understand their negative impact on cell function, and discover ways to treat them. The Center’s state-of-the-art facilities include The Moody Foundation Flow Cytometry Facility, the Metabolomics Facility, the Sequencing Facility, and the Mouse Genome Engineering Facility.

More information on the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

32. MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, MA


Points: 5
R&D Expenditures: $908,017
Out-of-State Tuition: $44,720

Known as CSAIL, the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT is the largest research institute at the university. It brings together over 100 principal investigators from eight different departments who study artificial intelligence, systems, and theory. CSAIL’s research efforts are supported by funding from government agencies such as the Department of Defense and the National Science Foundation as well as corporate sponsorships with companies such as Boeing, Microsoft, and Cisco. Research opportunities are available for graduate students in the areas of engineering, educational technology, and related fields of study.

More information on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

31. Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology

Stanford University

Stanford, CA


Points: 5
R&D Expenditures: $959,247
Out-of-State Tuition: $44,184

Established in 2003 through a grant from Fred Kavli and the Kavli Foundation, the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology seeks to answer some of the most complex questions about our universe, including its composition and origins. Over 100 researchers and affiliates converge at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory to study topics such as galaxy clusters, dark matter and dark energy, particle acceleration, and high-energy astrophysics. Graduate students may opt for a research rotation with a different faculty member each quarter in order to gain multiple perspectives on research topics.

More information on Stanford University

30. Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation

University of Michigan

Ann Arbor, MI


Points: 5
R&D Expenditures: $1,375,117
Out-of-State Tuition: $40,564

Founded in 2011, the Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation is affiliated with both the University of Michigan Health System and the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System. Comprised of over 460 faculty members, the Institute aims to evaluate health care reforms, foster healthier communities, facilitate valuable healthcare plans, and promote high-tech health care delivery. In the fiscal year 2015, the Institute spent $123 million in healthcare research. The 87,000 square foot facility located in UM’s North Campus Research Complex was designed to support interdisciplinary collaboration amongst faculty members.

More information on University of Michigan

29. Harvard Stem Cell Institute

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA


Points: 5
R&D Expenditures: $1,012,766
Out-of-State Tuition: $40,416

The Harvard Stem Cell Institute brings together 255 faculty from various departments throughout the university to engage in interdisciplinary stem cell research. The purpose of this research is multi-faceted but includes producing disease-specific stem cells so that scientists can study the diseases apart from patients and develop drugs and treatments to target diseases. Researchers at the institute also study how stem cells can be treatments themselves, replacing damaged or diseased cells in the body. Graduate students may be eligible for the HSCI Medical Scientist Training Fellowship.

More information on Harvard University

28. Birck Nanotechnology Center

Purdue University

West Lafayette, IN


Points: 5
R&D Expenditures: $564,923
Out-of-State Tuition: $28,010

The Birck Nanotechnology Center was established in 2005 and is committed to the advancement of nanoscale science and engineering as well as the development of new nanotechnologies to address issues in computing, the environment, energy independence, security, health, and communications. The facility occupies 186,000 square feet of laboratory and office space where 45 faculty members and up to 180 graduate students converge to conduct research involving crystal growth, bio-nanotechnology, molecular electronics, precision micromachining, and more. The BNC facility is a global leader in nanotechnology and presents students with one-of-a kind research opportunities in the field.

More information on Purdue University

27. Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

University of Florida

Gainesville, FL


Points: 5
R&D Expenditures: $708,526
Out-of-State Tuition: $27,355

The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) was formed to make discoveries in the life sciences, human and natural resources, and agriculture. UF/IFAS prides itself on accomplishments made in teaching and research, especially throughout Florida’s food industries. One project of significance was the folic acid research conducted at this center, which contributed to considerable drops in neural tube birth defects throughout the world. In addition to its headquarter offices, this institute has established 12 education centers, 4 demonstration sites, and biological field stations throughout the state.

More information on the University of Florida

26. The Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC


Points: 5
R&D Expenditures: $973,007
Out-of-State Tuition: $25,904

The Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, a unit of the University of North Carolina Division of Health Affairs, is made up of five health science schools, the Division of Academic Affairs, and outside members of the healthcare community. Sheps Center strives to improve the life quality of individuals through interdisciplinary programs that address needed changes in health care services. Among the center’s research programs include medical practice and prevention, health disparities, mental health and substance abuse, and long-term care.

More information on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

25. University of Cincinnati Cancer Institute

University of Cincinnati

Cincinnati, OH


Points: 5
R&D Expenditures: $422,873
Out-of-State Tuition: $24,532

Researchers at the University of Cincinnati Cancer Institute have access to state-of-the-art core facilities including a tissue and blood bank, a compound library, and a pre-clinical imaging center. Here, students work alongside physicians and scientists as they study different types of cancers such as brain tumors, breast cancer, lung cancer, sarcoma, and skin cancer. In addition to conducting cutting-edge cancer research, the Institute is committed to providing high-level treatment to cancer patients in the Greater Cincinnati metropolitan area, especially those with complex and advanced disease.

More information on the University of Cincinnati

24. Fralin Life Science Institute

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Blacksburg, VA


Points: 5
R&D Expenditures: $513,149
Out-of-State Tuition: $23,351

Established in 2008, the Fralin Life Science Institute is committed to studying key issues in life sciences such as vector-borne disease, infectious disease, organismal biology, obesity, and cancer biology. As a testament to ongoing growth and progress, three new laboratories at the Institute are currently being renovated. These labs will house a new insectary to support the work of the Vector-borne Research Group. In 2015, a new Global Change Center was also added to the Institute. Its focus will include five emerging global threats: habitat loss, pollution, invasive species, disease, and climate change.

More information on Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

23. The Biodesign Institute

Arizona State University

Tempe, AZ


Points: 5
R&D Expenditures: $426,651
Out-of-State Tuition: $21,700

Researchers at Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute are committed to discovering “bioinspired” answers to some of the world’s most complex and pressing issues including vaccine delivery, cancer treatment, infectious diseases, air and water contamination, biomedicine, and much more. The Institute’s dozens of labs and centers are housed among 350,000 square feet of LEED certified facilities. Since its establishment in 2003, it has facilitated 50 invention disclosures and contributed to the founding of over a dozen companies. As a result, it was awarded the state’s “Excellence in Economic Development Award” in 2009.

More information on the Arizona State University

22. Children’s Nutrition Research Center

Baylor College of Medicine

Houston, TX


Points: 5
R&D Expenditures: $496,314
Out-of-State Tuition: $15,575

The Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine is one of just six USDA human nutrition research centers in the United States. The center operates in conjunction with Texas Children’s Hospital and is run by 50 faculty researchers and over 200 staff members. The center has been publishing findings related to childhood nutrition since 1978 and continues to probe important issues such as nutrient-gene interactions, metabolism of essential mineral nutrients, cardiovascular disease, childhood obesity, lactation and phytonutrient biochemistry.

More information on Baylor College of Medicine

21. Yale Cardiovascular Research Center

Yale University

New Haven, CT


Points: 6
R&D Expenditures: $772,840
Out-of-State Tuition: $37,600

Yale Cardiovascular Research Center (YCVRC) at Yale University is home to more than 100 specialists in developmental and cell biology, genetics, stem cells, cardiomyocyte biology, and signaling. YCVRC is renowned for its remarkable facilities that include 2D and 3D ultrasound imaging, Micro CT imaging for rodents, a confocal microscopy laboratory, and many other related resources. The Clinical Research division of this center conducts a range of trials dedicated to advancing treatment opportunities in cardiovascular medicine. In over 500 clinical trials, this division has contributed to the enrichment of analysis methods used in interventional cardiology.

More information on Yale University

20. Center for Neuroscience and Society

University of Pennsylvania


Points: 6
R&D Expenditures: $856,806
Out-of-State Tuition: $29,890

The Center for Neuroscience & Society (CNS) at the University of Pennsylvania is a collective of faculty and students from the departments of Arts and Sciences, Medicine, Law, Engineering, and Applied Science. The work done at this center addresses the social, legal, and ethical implications in the world of neuroscience. Through extensive collaboration across many different academic disciplines, CNS is increasing public understanding of neuroscience’s potential impact on society. This center has created a range of educational programs including the Public Talks series, Neuroscience Bootcamp, and preceptorials.

More information on the University of Pennsylvania

19. Institute for Data Engineering and Science

Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta, GA


Points: 6
R&D Expenditures: $725,550
Out-of-State Tuition: $27,600

The Institute for Data Engineering and Science, a division of the Georgia Institute of Technology, is one of the nation’s most highly-regarded centers for technological research. The collaborative model of this center brings together students, industry, and government, all with the goal of making a positive impact on society. Among many others, this institute’s core research areas cover bioengineering, national security, people and technology, energy and sustainable infrastructure, robotics, and systems. The Data Engineering students at Georgia Tech are consistently in demand due to the immersive, experiential education they receive from day one.

More information on the Georgia Institute of Technology

18. Rutgers Energy Institute

Rutgers University

New Brunswick, NJ


Points: 6
R&D Expenditures: $644,116
Out-of-State Tuition: $26,736

The Rutgers Energy Institute is committed to developing sustainable solutions for energy production and helping the United States become less dependent on fossil fuels. REI is comprised of eighteen different groups and centers including the Center for Advanced Energy Systems, the Rutgers Climate Institute, the Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences, and the Waksman Institute of Microbiology. Fellowships are available for third-year graduate students as well as post-doctoral students. These fellowships provide cost support for a one-year appointment as students probe topics in basic and applied science, engineering, economics, and policy.

More information on Rutgers University

17. California National Primate Research Center

University of California – Davis

Davis, CA


Points: 6
R&D Expenditures: $711,721
Out-of-State Tuition: $26,322

The California National Primate Research Center works to improve human health by studying non-human primates. The institute currently employs 51 scientists and graduate students who are collectively engaged in 85 active projects. As home to over 5,000 Rhesus Macaques and Titi Monkeys, the center is also a breeding facility. CNPRC offers graduate research opportunities for students enrolled in a broad range of programs and courses including biomedical engineering, neuroscience, comparative pathology, and psychology. An externship in veterinary science is also available from UC Davis as is a residency in primate medicine.

More information on the University of California Davis

16. UAB Center for AIDS Research

University of Alabama – Birmingham

Birmingham, AL


Points: 6
R&D Expenditures: $428,563
Out-of-State Tuition: $16,072

UAB Center for AID’s research is one of the seven inaugural centers for AIDS research designated by the National Institute of Health and is a global leader in the field. Researchers at the Institute were the first to make the standard three-drug HIV treatment available to patients and are also credited with the discovery of the simian virus, which traced the spread of HIV to humans. The Institute’s core facilities promote interdisciplinary collaboration among scientists and students in the fields of behavioral sciences, biostatistics, genomics, and virology among others.

More information on the University of Alabama – Birmingham

15. Texas A&M Institute for Genomic Medicine

Texas A&M University

College Station, TX


Points: 6
R&D Expenditures: $854,214
Out-of-State Tuition: $14,429

The Texas A&M Institute for Genomic Medicine (TIGM) is a scientific community that has become an essential source for researchers in need of knockout mice and embryonic stem cells. TIGM has the world’s largest collection of genetically modified mouse cells, shared with over 270 academic and commercial institutions in 26 countries. The use of these resources have resulted in more than 50 peer-reviewed publications highlighting the use of TIGM mice or cells. This institute’s on-site research projects investigate environment and natural resources, policy and economics, health and food science, and animals.

More information on Texas A&M University

14. The Sydney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center

Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD



Points: 7
R&D Expenditures: $2,168,568
Out-of-State Tuition: $47,060

The Sydney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University is one of just 45 facilities in the country to be designated a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute and the only one in the state of Maryland. The Center has been awarded SPOREs (Specialized Programs of Research Excellence) in seven different areas of cancer research: lung cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, head and neck cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer, and lymphoma. In addition to conducting laboratory research and clinical studies, the center is committed to providing cancer education and support services to the surrounding community.

More information on Johns Hopkins University

13. Information Sciences Institute

University of Southern California

Marina del Rey, CA


Points: 7
R&D Expenditures: $687,222
Out-of-State Tuition: $38,448

The Information Sciences Institute is a division of the University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering. As one of the country’s preeminent computer research institutes, ISI is the recipient of nearly $60 million in federal and corporate research funding each year. Among its many research areas are intelligent systems, cybersecurity, quantum computation, and machine translation. The institute also partners with the USC Viterbi School’s Space Engineering Research Center to study space systems and technology. These research activities are conducted by the institute’s approximately 350 faculty, research scientists, graduate students, and staff.

More information on the University of Southern California

12. M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

University of Texas

Houston, TX


Points: 7
R&D Expenditures: $794,980
Out-of-State Tuition: $32,180

Located in Houston as part of the Texas Medical Center, the MD Anderson Cancer Center is a globally respected institution dedicated to cancer patient care, education, research, and prevention. The center was recently ranked number one in U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Hospitals” for cancer care. Over 1 million individuals have been cared for since MD Anderson’s inception in 1944, and in 2013 alone, the center provided $196 million worth of uncompensated care. Education is a key component of this center, offering a wide spectrum of training opportunities for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

More information on the University of Texas

11. Mershon Center for International Security Studies

The Ohio State University

Columbus, OH


Points: 7
R&D Expenditures: $815,075
Out-of-State Tuition: $30,104

The Mershon Center for International Security Studies is an academic think tank located at Ohio State University. Founded in 1952, this research institution was established to conduct investigations in the fields of security and international relations. The three primary focus areas of this center are use of force and diplomacy, decisional processes that affect security, and institutions currently managing violent conflict. This spectrum of research is intended to promote deeper understanding of global national security practices. Mershon Center’s pool of scholars include military fellows, doctoral candidates, post-docs, and permanent faculty.

More information on the Ohio State University

10. Berkeley Energy & Climate Institute

University of California – Berkeley


Points: 7
R&D Expenditures: $744,343
Out-of-State Tuition: $26,322

Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute (BECI) was established in 2010 in collaboration with the University of California and external research partners.  BECI brings in top-performing PhD students and respected figures in policy, business, and research. The primary objectives of this institute are to increase interdisciplinary research and improve the marketing of climate and energy education throughout the college and beyond. The educational programming of BECI is another key component, as its curriculum is actively cultivating a next generation of leaders and energy innovators.

More information on the University of California Berkeley

9. The Hormel Institute

University of Minnesota

Austin, MN


Points: 7
R&D Expenditures: $876,870
Out-of-State Tuition: $23,680

The Hormel Institute of the University of Minnesota is a globally recognized leader in revealing the dietary factors that can control or prevent cancer growth. A few of the groundbreaking discoveries attributed to Hormel include coining the terms omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids and revealing the anti-cancer benefits of green tea compounds. This institute utilizes High Performance Computing (HPC), expressly designed for biomedical research, scientific advances, and new drug development in cancer research. HPC allows scientists to screen millions of molecules to find matches between a chemical and its protein target, a resource often less available in other laboratory facilities.

More information on University of Minnesota

8. Center for Transportation Research

The University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX


Points: 7
R&D Expenditures: $585,251
Out-of-State Tuition: $20,698

As one of the oldest institutes on our list, the Center for Transportation Research at The University of Texas at Austin facilitated research designed to foster advancements in transportation science and technology. Recognized as one of the leading facilities of its kind, the Center promotes research in nearly every aspect of transportation including economics, transportation policy, driver behavior, traffic congestion relief, and public transit. Over 200 graduate and undergraduate engage in research at the center each year, and its research library houses over 30,000 publications.

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7. Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute

Northwestern University


Points: 8
R&D Expenditures: $645,333
Out-of-State Tuition: $46,836

Since its establishment in 1986, the Stanley Mann Children’s Research Institute has become one of the most prominent pediatric research facilities in the country. The Institute is comprised of ten core facilities including the Clinical Research Unit, the Pritzker Research Library, and the Research Histology Library. Graduate students engaged in research at Stanley Manne belong to one of three graduate programs at Northwestern University: the Driskill Graduate Program in Life Sciences, the Medical Scientist Training Program, and Northwestern University’s Interdepartmental Neuroscience PhD program.

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6. Duke Clinical Research Institute

Duke University

Durham, NC

Websiteduke-clinical-research-institute-duke-universityPoints: 8

R&D Expenditures: $992,821
Out-of-State Tuition: $45,760

Duke Clinical Research Institute is a world-renowned, state-of-the-art facility that has proven itself a leader in scientific investigation. While it’s known for groundbreaking cardiology research, DCRI’s expertise spans pediatrics, geriatrics, primary care, proteomics, oncology, and other specialties. Duke’s research unit performs studies in 65 countries, the results of which have been published in more than 9,300 peer-reviewed journals. In order to produce the most comprehensive results, DCRI’s clinical trials consider long-term outcomes, quality of life, and economic factors.

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5. Aging Institute

University of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, PA


Points: 8
R&D Expenditures: $856,806
Out-of-State Tuition: $33,960

Founded to serve the growing needs of the geriatric population, the Aging Institute at the University of Pittsburgh is committed to delivering full-service, high-quality healthcare. This institute is part of a large network of experts in geriatric medicine, providing more resources in the field than most medical centers in the nation. In addition to caring for older adults, AI performs clinical trials that have proven pivotal in the study and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and the effects of caregiving on families.

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4. BIO5 Institute

University of Arizona

Tucson, AZ


Points: 9
R&D Expenditures: $588,088
Out-of-State Tuition: $27,700

The BIO5 Institute was founded in 2001 as a result of the Technology and Research Initiative (TRIF). Its name is derived from its interdisciplinary approach to research, which promotes collaboration amongst five core disciplines: Agriculture, Engineering, Medicine, Pharmacy, and Science. The Institute brings together hundreds of researchers from more than 20 different schools and departments across the university. The result is innovative solutions to global biological problems such as disease, nutrition, hunger, and the environment. Graduate students work alongside top geneticists, biochemists, engineers, computer scientists, mathematicians, and other experts to perform cooperative research.

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3. UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability

University of California – Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA


Points: 10
R&D Expenditures: $966,659
Out-of-State Tuition: $26,322

The UCLA Institute of Environment and Sustainability was founded in 1997 to address a need for pivotal research in global environment and sustainability issues. This institute’s programming is an interdisciplinary approach combining education, research and outreach to the community. By both distributing knowledge and providing active solutions, UCLA encourages the next generation to be strong leaders in improving the planet’s health. The research programs associated with these efforts focus on climate change, energy, biodiversity, air and water quality, environmental economics, and related areas.

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2. Earth Institute

Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY


Points: 11
R&D Expenditures: $890,642
Out-of-State Tuition: $41,048

Founded in 1995 at Columbia University, the Earth Institute consists of 30 research centers and over 850 scientists, students, and fellows working toward sustainable development. The cutting-edge projects conducted here are rooted in the mission that existing science and technology can be utilized to meet the needs of the impoverished worldwide. By employing a multidisciplinary approach of scientific study, research, and education outreach, this institute works toward establishing stability for global issues facing climate, urbanization, energy, poverty, and ecosystems. The Earth Institute is also home to the Marie Tharp Fellowship, awarded to three outstanding female earth scientists per year.

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1. Center for Advanced Computing

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY


center-for-advanced-computing-cornell-universityR&D Expenditures: $883,292

Out-of-State Tuition: $29,500

The Cornell University Center for Advanced Computing (CAC) in Ithaca New York is one of the leaders in creating data solutions, high performance computing systems, and applications that are instrumental in successful research. Founded in 1985, CAC was one of the original five supercomputer centers to provide high-speed technology for research professionals. The center provides computing resources based in software including Red Hat Linuz, Hadoop, CentOS, Eucalyptus and MySQL. The CAC works with a national community as partners of the National Science Foundation-funded Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment.

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