The number of institutions using academic research to finance their research has increased dramatically in the past few years, and some are taking advantage of that growth.
One notable trend has been the growth in the number of academic research grants.
The amount of funding universities receive from research funding institutions has grown from about $1.6 billion in 2015 to $4.7 billion in 2020, according to data from the Association of American Universities.
In the same time period, the number and total amount of grants awarded to universities have decreased.
This trend has led to the proliferation of academic credit.
In some cases, the increase in the amount of credit is attributed to the increasing cost of research.
In others, it is due to increased recognition of the value of the research that universities can earn by funding the research, said Sarah Kuchler, senior research associate at the Center for Science and Democracy at the University of California, Berkeley.
“It’s becoming increasingly clear that there’s an academic credit market,” Kuchlerman said.
In 2015, the National Institutes of Health funded about 4.7 million academic research dollars, according, and about half of that money was awarded to researchers.
At the same period, only $3.5 million was spent on grants.
At UC Berkeley, which received about $2.8 billion in research grants in 2020 and more than $4 billion in total in grants, the amount spent on academic research increased from about 1,200 to 1,600 per year.
At New York University, which is a member of the Association for American Universities, the average number of credits spent on research in 2020 was more than 4,700 per year, and the average amount of research money spent per year was more a total of about $15,600.
UC Berkeley’s Kuchlin said that many institutions use the money to pay for the academic assistants who do research, including those who do a lot of research and have students working with them.
“If you’re a school, I don’t think you’re going to have a lot more students that are doing research, so you’re not going to be able to spend that kind of money,” Kichler said.
“I think the biggest thing is that there is more funding for the kinds of research that are being done, and that the researchers are making a lot from that funding.”
Some universities are using the money in the form of scholarships or research grants to help pay for their own research.
But others are using that funding to pay professors who are conducting research on their own time, Kuchling said.
And many of those institutions, including Berkeley, have no incentive to use the funds for research, according with Kuchlier.
“The fact is that if they’re doing research that is their own, that’s their own cost, that money is their money, and they don’t want to use that money to subsidize other research,” Kachler said, adding that she believes the universities should be using the funds to support their faculty and students.
But Kuchlier said it is important that institutions also take steps to support research that helps them achieve their mission, and not just the academic research.
“That is the reason why we’re looking to the Department of Defense and to the National Science Foundation to see if they can get us to support the research,” she said.
The Department of Energy’s Office of the Inspector General is looking into the use of academic grants and academic research funds.
The Inspector General, which investigates academic research and grants, is conducting a review of the UC Berkeley-NYU contract and could issue a report in the near future, Kichlin said.
But while the audit is underway, the University has not received a single payment from the Department, Kachlier added.
“This is not an audit, this is a review, and it’s our job to do it,” Kchlier told The Verge.
Kuchlik said it would be irresponsible to expect the University to fully account for all of the academic credit it uses.
“We don’t know how much of that is actually being spent on the research itself and how much is being used to pay the professors,” she added.
Kichlier and Kuchlich, who both teach at UC Berkeley and the College of the Holy Cross, said they are concerned that institutions have not been able to properly assess the value to the research and their own bottom lines.
“How much money is actually going to go to pay people to do the work that the university is doing?”