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National Research University Fund


In 2018, the University 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:

  • $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*

Read the Press Release

This recognition of excellence represents a significant research milestone for the University. Distributions from NRUF will be used to fund non-recurring expenses of projects designed to further increase the University’s research productivity.

*UT Dallas’ equivalent national organization is Phi Kappa Phi

Dr. Richard Benson.

“This is a significant achievement in the history of our university. 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.”

— Dr. Richard Benson, president of UT Dallas

Texas Takes Step Toward More Tier One Universities

House Bill 51, authored by then-Rep. Dan Branch, was signed by then-Gov. Rick Perry in a ceremony on the UT Dallas campus in June 2009. 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.

UT Dallas is the third emerging research university to meet the NRUF eligibility requirements, following 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 Dr. Richard Benson, president of UT Dallas.

About UT Dallas

157 National Merit Scholars joined UT Dallas in 2017 (#1 in Texas for most NMS and #3 among public universities in the nation).

Times Higher Education consistently ranks UT Dallas among the best in the nation in its list of top universities under 50 years of age.

NRUF will provide UT Dallas with approximately $7.5M per year.

Research funding continues to grow at UT Dallas

Achieving NRUF status is another important step for UT Dallas, further enhancing its reputation for research. Advancing research to create new knowledge to enhance the human experience is a guiding theme of the University’s Strategic Plan.

Two researchers in a lab looking at a computer screen.

Total, Restricted and Federal Research Spending

Total, restricted, and federal research spending, from Fiscal Year 2005 through Fiscal Year 2020. Bar chart shows both restricted and federal research spending, as well as the total, trending upward, from a total of $43 million in 2005 to a projected total of $137 million in 2020.

Growing to serve the vibrant North Texas community

UT Dallas is Texas’ fastest growing university, by percentage, among public universities with at least 10,000 students. In the 2017 academic year, the University produced more than 7,000 graduates including 199 PhDs. UT Dallas has an alumni base of more than 105,000.
Enrollment Growth
Enrollment growth bar chart, which shows enrollment at 10,945 in the year 2000 and rising to 27,642 in 2017. Enrollment is projected to reach 31,400 in 2020.
Three students walking together in a a campus building.

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.

Download “Highlights: 2017-2018” PDF