Wichita State ranks third in aerospace R&D

The university spent more than $32 million on aerospace R&D in 2007, much of it through the National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR).

Wichita State University (WSU, Wichita, Kan., USA) reports that data from the National Science Foundation continue to rank Wichita State University third among all U.S. universities in aeronautical engineering research and development expenditures.

WSU's expenditures topped $32 million on aeronautical engineering R&D in 2007, the most recent numbers tracked by the NSF. That represents an increase of $13.4 million over 2006 expenditures, for which WSU also ranked No. 3 in the nation.

Ahead of Wichita State in this year's rankings are Johns Hopkins University and Georgia Institute of Technology. WSU ranked ahead of more than 160 other universities.

"We are extremely proud of our world class aeronautical engineering R&D programs, which are an essential element of our mission and our most important connection to national research priorities," said Gary L. Miller, vice president for Academic Affairs and Research.

Wichita State's No. 3 rank is largely due to the research and testing programs at the National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) at WSU. This significant growth is partly because of the support of the local and national aviation industry, the state of Kansas and numerous federal agencies.

NIAR has grown at a steady rate for the past 10 years, increasing its operating budget from $11 million in 1998 to nearly $36 million in 2008. Continued growth and high ranks in aeronautical research are expected for Wichita State and NIAR with the addition of a new test facility, laboratories and involvement in the National Center for Aviation Training.

NIAR's new facility, located behind the main facility on the WSU campus, houses several of NIAR's new environmental testing laboratories, which provide environmental certification testing. The National Center for Aviation Training will be located at Jabara Airport and will provide a wide range of aviation training services. NIAR will have facilities dedicated to CATIA training, composites research, nondestructive inspection and advanced joining technologies at this facility, which is scheduled to open to students in fall 2010.