OGI School of Science & Engineering Receives Top NW Ranking for National Funding in Computer Science

05/06/03    Portland, Ore.

National Science Foundation ranks the school 16th nationally for its federally funded computer research and 21st overall for its computer science funding

A just-released National Science Foundation (NSF) report ranks OHSU's OGI School of Science & Engineering as the Northwest's leader in overall funding for computer science research and development. "Academic Research and Development Expenditures: Fiscal Year 2001," an annual NSF survey of universities and colleges, ranks the OGI School of Science & Engineering 16th nationally for its federally funded computer research. The OGI school ranked 21st in the nation overall for its computer science research from all funding sources.

"This is an extremely impressive achievement," said Edward Thompson, Ph.D., dean of the OGI School of Science & Engineering. "To be ranked in federally funded research near schools like Massachusetts Institute of Technology (No. 5), Georgia Tech (No. 8), and Cornell University (No. 11), really says a lot about our incredible computer science and engineering faculty, and the kind of innovative research that they're doing."

Added James Hook, Ph.D., associate professor of computer science who heads the OGI school's Department of Computer Science and Engineering (http://www.cse.ogi.edu), "Though federal funding is only one metric of success, it is a significant metric, and an area in which OGI has been consistently competitive. When you contrast the size of our faculty with that of the nation's other well-funded computer science departments, OGI's high ranking becomes even more significant."

According to the NSF report, the OGI School of Science & Engineering received approximately $7.2 million in federal funds for its computer science research in fiscal year 2001, the latest year for which data are available. The OGI school was awarded about $9 million for computer science research from all funding sources combined. (The OGI school receives more than $18 million in research funds annually, about 80 percent of which come from federal grants).

By comparison, the University of Washington (ranked 32nd overall in computer science research funding) received approximately $6.3 million in fiscal year 2001, and Oregon State University (ranked 70th overall in computer science research funding) was awarded about $2.5 million. The University of Oregon -- the only other Northwest school to break the top 90 -- ranked 75th overall in computer science research funding, bringing in $2.4 million in fiscal year 2001.

The Oregon schools all improved significantly in their relative position, noted Hook, if you consider only their federal sources of funding. "This shows that industry and state funding for computer research in Oregon is well behind the norm of other states," he said.

The Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the OGI School of Science & Engineering opened in September 1981 with an initial offering of four courses per term for a handful of master's students focusing on software engineering and computer architecture. The courses were taught by one faculty member and some adjunct faculty, primarily from Tektronix, with help from two transfer students close to finishing their doctoral degrees. The Department of Computer Science and Engineering admitted its first doctoral students in 1982 and awarded its first doctoral degree in 1986.

Today the Department of Computer Science and Engineering has 23 full-time faculty, 125 full- and part-time students seeking degrees, and four dozen staff and technicians. A handful of spin-off companies have evolved from research within the OGI school' Department of Computer Science and Engineering, including Galois Connections, Inc. (http://www.galconn.com), Natural Interaction Systems, LLC (www.naturalinteraction.com), and WireX Communications Inc. (http://wirex.com). The OGI school's faculty hold dozens of patents and licensing agreements.

"Our computer scientists and computer engineers are well-known nationally for their work, particularly in their core areas of specialization," said Hook.

Computer scientists at the OGI School of Science & Engineering are among the nation's leaders in the fields of human-computer communication, database management and object-oriented systems, formal methods of computer program development, spoken language understanding, and distributed and mobile computing systems.

Congress directed NSF four years ago to provide a central clearinghouse for the collection, interpretation and analysis of data on scientific and engineering resources, and to provide a source of information for policy formulation by other agencies of the federal government. As part of its response, the Division of Science Resources Statistics conducts annual surveys of the research and development expenditures at the nation's universities and colleges.

Data for "Academic Research and Development Expenditures: Fiscal Year 2001" were collected from 609 institutions of higher education in the United States and outlying areas. The institutions have doctoral programs in science and engineering, are historically black colleges or universities that expend any amount of separately budgeted research and development in science and engineering, or are master's or bachelor's degree-granting institutions that expend at least $150,000 in separately budgeted research and development in science and engineering.

"Academic Research and Development Expenditures: Fiscal Year 2001" is available at http://www.nsf.gov/sbe/srs/nsf03316. The total, and federally funded research and development expenditures in the computer sciences at universities and colleges, is listed in table B-57 (http://www.nsf.gov/sbe/srs/nsf03316/pdf/tabb57.pdf).

The OGI School of Science & Engineering (formerly the Oregon Graduate Institute of Science & Technology) became one of four schools of the Oregon Health & Science University in 2001.

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