TXST sets all-time record with $141 million in research spending, fueled by Run to R1 efforts


Jayme Blaschke | March 27, 2024

Texas State University’s (TXST) efforts to attain Research-1 (R1) Carnegie classification status—embodied by the Run to R1 initiative launched in early 2023—are reflected in record-setting Research and Development expenditures of $141.3 million for the 2023 fiscal year.

This is a $31.3 million, or 28.4%, increase over the previous record set in 2022. That level of funding is all the more impressive when viewed in the context of the past five years. In 2018, TXST set a then-record of $64.3 million in research spending. That’s a dramatic increase of $77 million, or 118.6%, over that span.

TXST President Kelly Damphousse has set a 2027 goal for TXST to reach R1 classification, the highest tier of research university. Achieving R1 classification will unlock more resources for students and facilitate the university’s positive impact on the state and beyond. Currently, TXST is classified as R2.

“While we are very proud of the numbers, we are celebrating results. Our faculty members are creating knowledge and solutions with their research and our students are learning valuable skills in the process,” Damphousse said. “We invest in building our research enterprise to ensure students are immersed in rich research environments so they are better prepared for successful careers, they graduate on time and they get jobs.”

R&D expenditures are a combination of internal and external funds used to support research activities. These expenditures reflect the entire research enterprise of the university and are reported annually to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

“The research funding landscape remains extremely competitive,” said Shreek Mandayam, Ph.D., vice president for Research at Texas State. “These record-high research expenditures are a testament to our faculty’s talent, passion and success in securing funding opportunities to support their scholarly interests and make a difference in the pursuit of research with relevance. Relevance to Texas, to the nation and to the world.”

The record R&D funding is a testament to the outstanding researchers at TXST and the strategic investments the university has made in postdoctoral research fellowships and doctoral student support. An array of federal agencies have funded these research activities, fostering the myriad advancements TXST faculty, staff and students have made in key areas of state and national concern:

Sustaining the Environment

Efforts to sustain water and the environment are reshaping the world. TXST is leading water and environmental efforts within the state and nationwide.

The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment received a $2 million award from the U.S. Department of Commerce National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for the TXST Meadows Center Climate Change Impact on Water Initiative to develop climate projections and assesses what those projections may mean for water resources and the environment. The initiative also provides a policy roadmap for individuals, communities and the state to prepare Texas for future challenges to water resources, the economy and the environment.

Michael Forstner, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Biology, received a $709,000 award from the Texas Department of Transportation to monitor and manage endangered species during construction and maintenance projects by performing contractor training, daily activity monitoring and inspection of avoidance and minimization strategies. Forstner’s team also provides expert analyses of planned construction and maintenance projects enabling avoidance and minimization of environmental impact.

Engineering Futures

TXST is leading research and development to make urban infrastructure smart and adaptive, leveraging state-of-the-art technology to optimize traffic, energy consumption and public services in real-time.

TXST was named a University Transportation Center (UTC), with Stacey Kulesza, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Ingram School of Engineering, leading a 5-year, $10 million program to fund the Coastal Research and Education Actions for Transportation Equity (CREATE) Consortium of universities to improve the durability of coastal transportation infrastructure. The center’s research focuses on innovative coastal infrastructure design, infrastructure evaluation, response to hazards and promoting transportation careers.

Anthony Torres, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Engineering Technology, received a $572,000 award from the Texas Department of Transportation to study the use of rapid setting hydraulic cement for structural applications. The project is developing design specifications for concrete overlays to achieve low cracking and superior long-term durability.

Advancements in Public Health and Safety

TXST is at the forefront of efforts to advance public health and safety, backed by comprehensive data analysis, best practices and community-centeredness.

The Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center (ALERRT) received a $9.7 million award from the U.S. Department of Justice for the Preparing for Active Shooter Situations Program to provide first responder training. The project offers an innovative and cross-disciplinary active shooter training regimen geared toward law enforcement, fire, emergency medical services, dispatchers, medical personnel, facility security, emergency management and any other professionals who may reasonably be key to a successful integrated response to an active shooter/attack event.

The Texas School Safety Center received a $2.5 million award from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the FDA Tobacco Prevention and Control Program. The initiative works to prevent youth from starting tobacco use in the first place. Other efforts include promoting quitting among youth and adults, eliminating exposure to secondhand smoke, reducing and eliminating tobacco-related disparities among population groups, and developing and maintaining statewide capacity to support a sustainable tobacco prevention and control program.

The Translational Health Research Center received a $2 million award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for the Mental Health Surveillance Collaborative to improve mental health in the Central Texas region through data-driven, culturally appropriate and cost-effective mental health services and tools. Researchers involved in the project are developing and implementing a community mental health surveillance dashboard and map.

STEM Workforce Development

The STEM workforce will drive progress, solve complex problems and revolutionize industries. TXST is at the forefront of equipping these future scientists and inventors.

Doug Morrish, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Agricultural Sciences, received a $5 million award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture/National Institute of Food and Agriculture for a program providing hands-on learning activities, scholarships and paid internships to build a highly qualified food, agriculture, natural resources and human sciences workforce for the future.

Shetay Ashford Hanserd, Ph.D., an associate professor and chair of the Department of Organizational and Workforce Leadership Studies, received $4.9 million from the NSF to leverage faith-based institutions to improve access and participation in STEM+C education for historically underrepresented minorities and women in Texas and Florida. The effort leverages the historical role of these institutions in driving social change.

José Martínez Hinestroza, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, received a five-year, $860,000 Faculty Early Career Development Program grant from the NSF to study how perceptions influence how teachers, future teachers and researchers assess bilingual children’s use of their languages and participation in mathematical activity.

Scaffolding Medical Research

Texas State is making advances in improving how diseases are understood and treated.

David Schilter, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, received a $744,000 award from the National Institutes of Health for a project to prepare and investigate nickel complexes to understand the role they play in gut health.

The Xiphophorus Genetic Stock Center has received funding from the National Institutes of Health for the last 20 years. The team uses fish models to understand the genetic basis for cancers like melanoma, as well as other human diseases with genetic causes. These models enable researchers to develop therapies that can lead to personalized medical treatments.

National and International Research Across the Disciplines

TXST research offers deeper insights and greater understanding into the dynamics of a rapidly changing world.

The Center for Archaeological Studies in the Department of Anthropology received a $1.1 million award from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for an archaeological survey to ensure compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act, which preserves historical and archaeological sites across the country.

Geneva Gano, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of English, received a $60,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities in support of her efforts to research and write a book showing how the arts of the Mexican revolution (1910–1920) influenced modernist literature in the United States.

For more information, contact University Communications:

Jayme Blaschke, 512-245-2555

Sandy Pantlik, 512-245-2922