Welcome to the Research Universities Futures Consortium

What is "The Current Health and Future Well-Being of the American Research University" study?

Developing and managing a research portfolio is not easy. There are many points of failure and the benefits are often not immediately obvious. The research grants and contracts landscape is competitive and globalized and the competition is only likely to intensify as a result of the current U.S. financial budget situation. In recent years, research has become more international and more interdisciplinary, making the management of research funding an increasingly complex task. On a broader level, universities are heavily regulated and scrutinized by governments and other sponsors who seek transparency and value for their investment. 

Using a bottom up approach, this study aims to understand the current academic research landscape and to envision the future. This study seeks to first identify common challenges faced by leading research institutions and then to develop and recommend solutions. While there were many individual findings worth discussing, the most important of these were consolidated and reported as six key findings. Naturally, the findings vary in priority between universities. Key Findings are 'Hyper-competition', 'Compliance', 'Research Quality and Impact', 'Planning and Decision Support', 'Value of the Research University', and Fragility of Research Administration' and its key conclusions include the need for collaboration, shared metrics and a required shift of focus to productivity, rather than size.

This is a community driven effort involving 29 of the nation's top research universities, with support from Elsevier. Collectively the universities of the Consortium have annual research expenditures of more than $11 billion which includes external grants and contracts as well as self-funded research, and educates thousands of students in all fields. All the information gathered and produced will be made freely available to the academic community, research sponsors, and the public via published reports and presentations. Confidential information provided by individual institutions will be strictly maintained.