January 29, 2021
By Mehmet S. Tosun, Professor and Director of International Programs, UNR College of Business
University research labs are very common in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and related fields. Those labs serve an important purpose for faculty and students. Students learn critical thinking and problem-solving skills, with hands-on experience with real world issues that help them in their future careers in academia, government or the private sector. Faculty benefit from having research assistance from students, receiving grants through those labs and furthering their research agenda. In the U.S., the federal government supports research programs in universities, whereas state governments provide more operational funding. According to an article by the Pew Charitable Trusts, total federal research funding to higher education was $26.5 billion, which was the second largest spending category after the federal Pell grants and 2.6 times greater than the state government funding for research, agriculture and medical education. National Science Foundation (NSF) provides grant funding to business and economics fields particularly through its Directorates for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE) and Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE), which includes Information and Intelligence Systems. In addition to NSF, other government agencies such as the United States Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy, National Institutes of Health, and a lot of private foundations also support research in business and economics fields.
Research labs, especially in science and engineering,