Published on May 1, 2023

Shaping the Future with Research and Innovation

Increasing sponsored research at our institutions and the number of research doctorates awarded will position our state at the forefront of innovation and drive economic development.

Our goals for Building a Talent Strong Texas

  • $1 billion increase in annual private and federal research and development expenditures by 2030
  • 7,500 research doctorates awarded annually by Texas institutions of higher education

We must increase research funding to achieve our Texas-sized potential. 

Texas’ economy ranks among the world’s top 10, with industries at the frontiers of energy, technology, finance, and aerospace. But given our state’s size and status as a global economic leader, our engagement in research and development falls short of our potential. 

Doctoral students contribute to important research that actively shapes our future. Their discoveries lead to technological advancements and economic development that serve individuals, communities, and society at large. These students then go on to become the scientists, doctors, teachers, and leaders of tomorrow.  

Increasing sponsored research will improve our competitiveness on a national and global scale, as well as generate advancements that benefit individual Texans and stimulate economic growth. More specifically, achieving our research goals will help improve Texas’ innovation ecosystem and drive economic development and opportunity across the state. 

The research landscape is expanding.

We are seeing the results of Texas’ long-range goal to expand investment in institutional research. In 2010, only four doctoral universities in the state qualified as “R1” research institutions, which conduct the highest level of research activity. Today we have 11 R1 universities, as well as more than a dozen institutions in the second tier of research activity.

Texas is on track to reach its expenditures goal. 

Research expenditures in Texas increased by $60 million from 2020 to 2021. That represents 6% of our goal, with nine years left to generate the remaining 90%.  

Funding comes in waves, rather than a steady stream, and is determined at the federal level largely through grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and other sources. Texas must remain vigilant in pursuing valuable research dollars that move our knowledge and economy forward.  

Doctorates awarded have been increasing across all ethnicities.

The number of research doctorates awarded by Texas universities between 2021 and 2022 increased across all ethnicities. While overall these numbers are moving in a positive direction, white and international students have been completing research doctorates at higher rates. As institutions continue to educate future faculty, innovators, and leaders for Texas who earn the highest degrees in their fields, we must also work to increase the enrollment and success of students from historically underrepresented groups, especially in high demand fields of study.

Women are increasing their share of doctorates. 

More women than men in Texas were awarded doctorates each year from 2015-2021, and the gap between women and men has widened. This aligns with the trends in other degrees and certificates, as well as enrollment. Click on the ‘Doctorates by Gender’ tab in the visualization below to see research doctorates awarded by gender over time.