The word "research" often conjures up images of white coats and test tubes, and certainly that kind of activity is increasing at Oklahoma's public colleges and universities. But research also includes a wide range of subject matter, such as teaching methods, social problems, meaning and interpretation of art and literature, and of course, discovery that results in new knowledge and inventions. Students who are engaged in the various forms of research strengthen their analytical and problem-solving skills, thus making them better adapted to today's rapidly changing job market and the global economy.
The research conducted at state institutions often creates new businesses that produce new products and services that are key to improving economic development in our state. Some of the research conducted on our campuses is supported by grants and contracts from agencies in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere. As a strong indication of Oklahoma’s increasing research strength, sponsored research at Oklahoma’s public colleges and universities has increased significantly since 2001.
Despite the increasing research strength at our colleges and universities, Oklahoma’s share of federal research and development funding for sponsored research is about $55 per capita, compared to the national average of $269 per capita. If Oklahoma had a greater number of researchers and adequate facilities and equipment to bring the level of sponsored research dollars to the national average, an additional $738 million would be brought to the state every year. Even by conservative estimates, this increased revenue for Oklahoma would have a total annual economic impact of more than $1.3 billion and create an estimated 35,500 jobs.