Stanford University's scientific research income has surpassed its multibillion-dollar endowment and other investments, making scientific research the school's largest revenue source. The economic crisis and the U.S. government's emphasis on scientific research are the major factors behind the shift in revenue. Next year, federally funded research, including economic stimulus funding, will account for 30 percent of Stanford's revenue.
The shift in revenue sources will allow the university to strengthen science and medical research efforts, but will also hurt other programs that do not have dedicated sources of income and have relied on the earnings of the university's endowment. Income from medical, engineering, and physics research is expected to increase 10 percent to $1.13 billion, while investment income is expected to drop 16 percent to $886 million, down from $1.06 billion. "Federal research funding has flattened out in recent years, and to see an uptick is extremely welcomed," says Stanford's Lisa Lapin. However, Lapin notes that research funding, unlike investment income, generally stays within the laboratory or department that earned it and cannot be used to support general operations on campus.
So far this year, Stanford's endowment has dropped 30 percent, the largest decline in the last four decades, and the university is "spending down" its endowment and other investments by $1.1 billion to help pay for a variety of expenses, including faculty salaries and student financial aid.
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