In the United States, much of its basic research and a growing amount of its applied research is performed in its universities rather than in government laboratories or free-standing institutes as in most European countries. There is a distinguished group of major universities that maintain very large research programs. The University of Michigan is one of these, with research laboratories in nearly every building and research projects in nearly every department. It expects that its faculty members will engage in research as a part of their scholarly duties, and a great majority do so. Its administrative policies and procedures are designed to facilitate research by its faculty while ensuring that what is done is consonant with the primary educational goals of the institution.
In recent years, the University's budgeted and identifiable expenditures for research have been over $62 million per year (about DM.250 million). This enormous research program affects the University in two major ways. First, it contributes to one of the nation's best graduate-training programs. In most disciplines, and particularly in science and engineering, the training of graduate students goes hand in hand with a research program that makes available large-scale facilities and instrumentation, topics for thesis investigations, and research fellowships or other partial support for students working toward advanced degrees. Some 3,550 students, about one-third of them undergraduates, are currently employed on sponsored research projects, and it is estimated that every year about 350 doctoral dissertations (about half of all dissertations accepted by the University) grow directly out of work on a sponsored research project. Second, it contributes greatly to the quality of its faculty. The most eminent professors — those working at the frontiers of knowledge in their fields — naturally gravitate to and stay at institutions with vigorous research environments. Since these professors are often sought as advisers or consultants by government and industry, they tend to bring their universities into frequent relationships with the nonacademic world, thus helping to integrate, assimilate, and apply new knowledge for the benefit of society.
Page 43About 72 percent of the support for the University's research program comes from the various agencies of the federal government, with the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare furnishing the largest share (29.3 percent). In addition to the many federal agencies, a number of private foundations, industrial and business firms, national societies, and individuals support the University's research, providing the broad-based support needed for its extremely diverse program.
Because of the size and complexity of its research enterprise, the University has evolved some special administrative arrangements to foster the program. The principal research officer is a Vice-President for Research. His administrative staff, the Office of Research Administration, has broad responsibilities for aiding faculty members in securing funds for their research projects and assisting them in the administration of those funds in accordance with University policies.
Research projects vary greatly in size and subject-matter diversity. Small projects that fall within the traditional disciplines can be administered within those departments. Joint or interdisciplinary activities, however, may thrive better if structured differently. The University has, therefore, been willing to recognize research "centers" devoted to particular research areas or problems. The existence of these centers often gives their research a coherence and visibility that stimulate growth. In addition to numerous centers, the University has several units of such programmatic breadth and size that they are centrally administered. These are described as "institutes"; the two largest are the Institute of Science and Technology and the Institute for Social Research. The former provides for the management of large research programs that do not fit in the existing academic structure and the means by which new developments in science or technology are fostered until they can be absorbed by existing departments. It encompasses research activities in such fields as biophysics, highway safety, the Great Lakes, engineering psychology, and the technology of remote sensing and optical data processing. The Institute for Social Research includes substantial programs in survey research, management strategies, group dynamics, political behavior, and utilization of scientific knowledge. A newly-formed Institute for Environmental Quality differs from the other two mentioned in that its role is more of a catalyst, with modest operating responsibilities. It attempts to stimulate within the University new disciplinary alliances and combinations directed towards the solution of environmental Page 44problems and to foster the development of graduate and research programs to this end.