In This Section


University research is a vital building block in the nation’s research and development enterprise. Universities perform 54 percent of the nation’s “basic” research. Such research is aimed at increasing fundamental knowledge and understanding rather than developing a specific device or application. But new products and processes would be impossible without basic research.

Most basic research in the U.S. is funded by the federal government through agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the Departments of Defense and Energy.

A great advantage of the U.S. system is that universities combine cutting-edge research with graduate education, thus training the next generation of scientists, engineers, and leaders in all fields. This system is being widely copied around the world.

AAU universities are on the leading edge of innovation, scholarship, and solutions that contribute to our nation’s economy, security, and well-being.

The 60 AAU universities in the United States receive 58 percent of all federal research funding that goes to colleges and universities. These institutions award 52 percent of all U.S. doctoral degrees and 55 percent of all doctoral degrees in science and engineering.