Milestone Reached: UT Dallas Qualifies for State’s ‘Tier One’ Fund
University Will Receive Support for Research after Hitting Key Benchmarks for Faculty, Freshman Class, Endowment

view of center campus on a sunny day

The University of Texas at Dallas is the youngest institution and third overall in Texas to become eligible for support from the state’s National Research University Fund.

The University of Texas at Dallas announced today that it has achieved the critical benchmark criteria required to qualify for funding from the National Research University Fund (NRUF), an exclusive source of research support available to the state’s “emerging research universities.”

UT Dallas qualified for this funding, which this fiscal year totaled $7.5 million, by achieving these Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s benchmarks for two consecutive years:

NRUF Website

Read more about UT Dallas’ achievements and the National Research University Fund at 

  • $45 million in annual expenditures on restricted research.
  • $400 million endowment.
  • High-achieving freshman class.
  • High-quality faculty.
  • Membership in the Association of Research Libraries, Phi Beta Kappa or equivalent national organization.

“In its short history, The University of Texas at Dallas has set itself apart and earned their reputation as a national leader in research,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said. “UT Dallas has generated innovative and groundbreaking discoveries that contribute to our economy and advance Texas as a premier state for higher education. I congratulate UT Dallas for qualifying for the National Research University Fund, and I look forward to all their great work to come.”

This recognition of excellence represents a significant research milestone for the University. House Bill 51, authored by then-Rep. Dan Branch, was signed by then-Gov. Rick Perry in June 2009 at a ceremony on the UT Dallas campus. The bill outlined the creation of NRUF. Confirmed by popular vote in November of that year, the program is designed to boost the research output of eligible Texas public universities and enable them to achieve national prominence as major research institutions.

“This achievement affirms the University’s excellence and the quality of higher education in Texas,” Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said. “These additional funds will help UT Dallas find new solutions to real-world problems and bolster the state’s economy. This is a win-win for Texas and UT Dallas, and I could not be more pleased with this news.”

Distributions from NRUF will be used to fund non-recurring expenses of projects designed to further increase the University’s research productivity.

“This is a very significant achievement for UT Dallas, and it’s a credit to the groundbreaking work that students and faculty are doing there,” Texas House Speaker Joe Straus said. “The continued emergence of UT Dallas is critically important to the economic vitality of the North Texas region and the success of our entire state.”

student in lab wearing goggles

NRUF distributions will be used to fund non-recurring expenses of projects designed to further increase research productivity at UT Dallas.

UT Dallas earned classification as a Carnegie R1 doctoral institution of highest research activity, a designation based largely on the aggregate quantity of an institution’s research. The University announced this achievement in 2016.

In the 2008 and 2009 financial years, when NRUF was created, the University averaged over $36.5 million in restricted research expenditures. In fiscal years 2016 and 2017, that average grew to over $51 million, representing a 40 percent increase in just eight years.

“The University of Texas at Dallas has shown tremendous initiative and drive in becoming a rising national higher education institution,” said Sara Martinez Tucker, chairman of The University of Texas System Board of Regents. “The Board of Regents congratulates UT Dallas on achieving this important milestone, and we will continue to enthusiastically support its ascendancy as a research powerhouse in service to the people of Texas and beyond.”

UT Dallas is the third emerging research university to meet the NRUF eligibility requirements, after Texas Tech University and the University of Houston. Access to NRUF funds has been a significant target for UT Dallas since the tenure of Dr. David E. Daniel, predecessor of University President Richard C. Benson.

“This is a significant achievement in the history of our University,” Benson said. “We are the youngest institution in the state to have emerged as a national research university, and that’s a testament to our commitment and drive to advance our research enterprise.”

Established in 1969, UT Dallas offers top-ranked science, engineering and business programs, and has gained prominence for a breadth of educational paths from audiology to arts and technology. The University enrolls more than 27,600 students — 18,380 undergraduate and 9,250 graduate — and offers a broad array of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. UT Dallas’ faculty includes a Nobel laureate, six members of the National Academies and more than 575 tenured and tenure-track professors. Dr. Aziz Sancar, who earned his PhD in molecular and cell biology from UT Dallas in 1977, won the 2015 Nobel Prize in chemistry.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].