(Missoula Current) Over the past 10 years, expenditures from research grants at the University of Montana have more than doubled, reaching $126 million this fall – an increase of $4 million over the prior year, the school said Monday.

That's a 129% increase from the $55 million reported in 2014.

Scott Whittenburg, vice president for research and creative scholarship, helped UM achieve its R1 research status from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

The achievement leaves UM as one of less than 4% of degree-granting institutions across the country to have obtained such status. UM ranks No. 9 for research growth since 2014.

“Our trajectory looks strong – poised for another record,” Whittenburg said. “We expect this trend to continue for the next several years as our research awards continue to reach new heights.”

Whittenburg said the amount of new external funding received by UM in the first six months of this fiscal year has increased 18% over where it was a year ago. The award volume stands at $99 million, compared to $84 million at this time last year.

The number of research proposals submitted in the first six months remains around 260, he added. But the amount of external funding requested jumped to $151 million this year compared to $123 million last year.

“In addition to the added prestige of being an R1 university, the designation also helps in the recruitment of students – both undergraduate and graduate – and new faculty,” Whittenburg said. “Many students will only consider R1 universities when looking at where to apply in much the same way that they only consider D1 athletic schools.

Of the 146 R1 research universities in the country, only two – UM and the University of Oregon – managed to achieve that status without also having an engineering school or a medical school.

Whittenburg said the University’s R1 status should continue contributing to the growth of UM and its research enterprise.

“I also meet with many of the faculty candidates during the recruitment process, and they have all mentioned our achievement of R1 status as a major factor in their decision as to where they would like to continue their career,” Whittenburg said.