U of M Medical School Ranked 21st Most Funded Medical Institution by Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research

The University of Minnesota Medical School jumps ahead in rankings for research funded by the National Institutes of Health.

The University of Minnesota Medical School was announced by the 2022 Blue Ridge Research Rankings as the 21st most funded medical institution in the country, receiving over $341M from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This year’s rankings also include our school landing as the eighth most funded public medical school in the nation.

UMN Medical School ranks #8 public institution in nation 

The Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research is a nonprofit organization that ranks U.S. medical schools by NIH grant awards each year. The NIH is the largest public funder of biomedical research in the world. This metric is a strong indicator of the U of M Medical School’s mission to provide clinical, research and educational excellence that ultimately positively impacts the people of Minnesota.

The Medical School rose eight spots over the last year, from #29 in 2021 to #21 in 2022. Since 2021, the Medical School has seen a 50% increase in NIH funding, and the average grant size increased from $461k to $615k per grant with 554 grants funded. This amount represents the most NIH funding our school has received in over 30 years and is an exciting accomplishment for the talented and driven faculty and staff, whose innovative work moves our institution, and our state, forward every day. 

“The ranking is an achievement,” says Medical School Dean Jakub Tolar, MD, PhD. “What it means for the state is that this school can continue to enhance our ability to deliver new cures, treatments and care models, recruit the best physicians to care for Minnesotans, and prepare the next generation to serve communities across the state.”

In addition to the Medical School’s overall ranking, three individual departments ranked in the Top 10 all departments in the nation. The Department of Neuroscience ranked #6, the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health ranked #2 and the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Physics received the #1 rank in the U.S.

Faculty receiving the most NIH funding include Dr. Bruce Blazar in the Department of Pediatrics developing novel immune-based therapies for pediatric cancers; Dr. John Osborn in the Department of Surgery, working to understand the role of the central nervous system in the development  and regulation of high blood pressure; and Dr. Michele Allen in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, addressing health disparities through community-based health promotion. Additionally, Dr. Jerica Berge in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health had the highest volume of NIH funded projects, with twelve in total for 2022. 

UMN Medical School received $341M in funding from NIH in 2022These outstanding achievements didn’t happen overnight; they represent thousands of hours of effort from across the University. The Research Office, led by Vice Dean Tim Schacker, MD has been diligently aligning resources and priorities, providing support for those preparing grant applications and deploying internal grants like the Academic Investment Research Program to build the Medical School’s portfolio. In 2022, $13.7 million in seed funding was invested, and faculty rallied that investment into 64 new externally funded grants totaling more than $122 million. This exceptional ranking took a village, from the Research Office team, principal investigators, lab managers, scientists and pre-award specialists, to community outreach coordinators, Research Animal Resources, administrators, clinical research coordinators and, of course, the Medical School’s remarkable students and postdocs.

“Our faculty and the staff who support them have worked hard to succeed in the competitive environment of NIH funding,” said Tim Schacker.  “This increase in the rankings shows we've leveraged public and private investments wisely to hire the right teams in pursuit of new scientific knowledge to improve health and care."

This exceptional Blue Ridge Research Ranking speaks volumes to the high-quality of the Medical School’s faculty, staff and students, as well as our commitment to moving our state forward and providing excellent care to all Minnesotans for years to come.