Ranking Hawaii's Return On Investment in University Research

Courtesy of the University of Hawaii

Editor's note: This is the third in a four-part series on research at the University of Hawaii and its potential to drive the state's economy. Bruce Stevenson, former CEO of Pacific Health Research Institute (PHRI), contributed to the research for this series.

The return on a state's financial investment in a university is a key measure of its performance.

One test of how well a university maximizes the public's investment is faculty research productivity per dollar invested.

We examined state investment in California, Wisconsin and Vermont and compared results with Hawaii's.1 The other universities were the University of Vermont; the University of California, San Diego; the University of California, Davis; and the University of Wisconsin.

We narrowed our study to three of the most familiar and telling benchmarks: publications, federal grants and faculty stature. We compared the universities’ research productivity in these areas by normalizing to faculty numbers and state funding levels.

Civil Beat found that Hawaii invests in the ballpark of the two California institutions per faculty member, and much more than Vermont or Wisconsin.

For our analysis, we considered only the money that each state allocated from its general fund to the university in question. We believe that amount paints most clearly the picture of the state's financial commitment to its research institutions.

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