The State Auditor’s Office announced May 25 that the University of Houston is one of two schools to meet the state’s requirements to gain access to the National Research University Fund.
“The mandatory review by the state auditor’s office is complete, and we are on the verge of accessing additional state money from the National Research University Fund,” said UH President Renu Khator in an email.
The NRUF was established in Nov. 2009 under HB 51 as a replacement for the Higher Education Fund. According to the official document, its purpose is to encourage state universities to dictate a stronger focus on research and, ultimately, to create more designated Tier One universities within the state.
The bill requires that a university achieve four-of-six set benchmarks as well as have a minimum annual research expenditure of $45 million in order to become eligible for the award money. With a yearly research expenditure of $55 million and four of the required benchmarks achieved, UH is one of two schools out of six total competitors to meet the necessary requirements this year.
“I want our university and our city to be nationally and globally competitive, and this money will help us fulfill that commitment,” Khator said.
While there is no confirmation yet of the amount that will be distributed between UH and Texas Tech from the approximated $620 million fund, it is estimated in the press release to be around $8 million over the next two years.
“My goal is to use this money to recruit distinguished faculty, especially those in fields such as science, technology and engineering,” Khator said.
This, along with the Carnegie foundation’s classification of UH as a Tier One research institute, is a step forward on the University’s path to a Tier One standing, as many of the requirements reflect the characteristics of a Tier One school.