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UT’s Research Enterprise Helps Boost State’s Profile

New ideas are a commodity in the knowledge economy, and they are produced every day across the University of Tennessee. Combined with education and training, that innovation is helping boost the growth of the state of Tennessee’s research profile as announced in a report that analyzes the strength of research in the United States.

The Council of State Governments (CSG) and Elsevier, a company that publishes and provides research information and tools, this week released “America’s Knowledge Economy: A State by State Review,” which hails Tennessee’s growth in research impact. The report was shared with state officials, academic institutions and stakeholder organizations and is meant to inform states about how to best fund research initiatives. Various metrics, including an abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed publications, were used to determine the strengths and growth in each state.

Tennessee had the top growth rate among states with an above-average growth in citation impact, according to the report. Tennessee’s field-weighted citation impact grew from 1.54 in 2004 to 1.76 in 2013. The report also found Tennessee’s highest impact was in energy, ranking third among all states and being cited 42 percent more than the U.S. average. The state ranked eighth among states in growth of research publications.

“Our state’s best-in-class growth in research impact is truly a remarkable accomplishment. Across the state, the University of Tennessee’s research and innovation endeavors are getting noticed around the world,” said David Millhorn, executive vice president and vice president for research for the UT System. “From our partnership with Oak Ridge National Laboratory to a historic statewide collaboration to increase National Science Foundation (NSF) funding to our lead role in an advanced manufacturing hub, the University of Tennessee is helping raise the profile of our state.”

UT has been manager of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Department of Energy’s largest energy and science lab, since 2000, and boasts 15 Governor’s Chair faculty, more than 160 faculty members who are jointly appointed and five joint research institutes.

This year marks the fifth and final year of a $20 million award from NSF’s EPSCoR program, which helps states build their research infrastructure. UT led a historic statewide collaboration to win the award in 2010 under the program name TN-SCORE, which stands for Tennessee Solar Conversion and Storage using Outreach, Research and Education. TN-SCORE has garnered more than $9.6 million in new research funding, yielded two startup companies and increased the education of countless K-12 teachers. More than 60 UT faculty and 160 students have participated in collaborative research projects.

In January, President Barack Obama visited Tennessee to announce the selection of UT to lead the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI), a $259 million public-private partnership. IACMI focuses on advanced fiber-reinforced polymer composites that are used to create materials lighter and stronger than steel.

“These are just some examples of the large research programs UT is competing for and winning nationally. Research is a priority for the University of Tennessee and is part of our mission as a public institution to educate, discover and connect with the people of Tennessee,” said UT President Joe DiPietro. “The University is an economic engine in our state, and we are proud of our collaborations with other public and private institutions that are moving Tennessee ahead.”

For more information about the report, visit the CSG website.

To read the announcement from CSG and Elsevier about the report, visit this page.


Contact:

Elizabeth Davis, (865) 974-5179, elizabeth.davis@tennessee.edu