UH Research a Story of Progress and Potential

Courtesy of the University of Hawaii

Editor's note: This is the final 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, contributed to the research for this series.

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie and University of Hawaii President M.R.C. Greenwood both tout academic research as a key driver of the state's economic growth. While the objective is admirable, little has been said about how far the university has to go before it becomes the kind of buzzing innovation hub they allude to.

Civil Beat, in its series, "University of Hawaii Research: Fulfilling its Promise?", compared UH with four mainland state research universities to see how well it stacks up. We selected two that have established themselves as hotbeds of research and commercialization, and two that better resemble UH in terms of resources and reputation.

The result showed UH still has some distance to cover if the university is going to be an economic powerhouse on the scale of top mainland universities:

To recap some of our findings:

  • UH does passably when it comes to publishing in the prestigious journals Nature and Science.
  • UH does competitively by faculty member, but not by state investment, when it comes to another measure, the Google Scholar index.

But:

  • UH doesn't perform well when it comes to life sciences publications.
  • UH does comparatively poorly at leveraging state investment into federal grants.
  • UH ranks at the bottom when measured by the number of members of the National Academies it has, as a percentage of total faculty and by state investment.
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