FIU Psychology ranked No. 3 by National Science Foundation

FIU is ranked No. 3 in the nation by the National Science Foundation (NSF) for research funding in psychology, moving up two spots since the previous rankings.

The university claimed the highest ranking of all Florida universities in the NSF’s annual Higher Education Research and Development rankings. The report ranks total and federally financed higher education research and development expenditures. Based on 2020 fiscal year expenditures, FIU rose to its highest level yet — $34.6 million. This highlights the success of our faculty in obtaining extramural funding given the high impact and innovation of their research, according to Raul Gonzalez, interim chairperson of the Department of Psychology in the College of Arts, Sciences & Education. The ranking also includes research programs in the Robert Stempel School of Public Health & Social Work.

FIU has experienced a rapid ascension in the NSF rankings, jumping from 116 less than 10 years ago to the top 3 in the latest report.

“FIU continues to drive innovative research and clinical work to help reduce the burden of mental illness, increase access to mental health treatments and advance new techniques for public health and law enforcement, all in the hopes of helping people, their families and our communities,” Gonzalez said. “As we continue to rise in these rankings, it only stands to prove that our faculty, staff and students are advancing science and developing solutions worth investing in.”

The Center for Children and Families (CCF), an FIU preeminent program, has provided an optimal setting for psychology faculty to pursue funded research on mental health and neuroscience. CCF is a nationally recognized clinical research center dedicated to improving the lives of children and families struggling with mental health problems. Through clinical services and innovative research programs, faculty at the center provide services to more than 3,000 families every year. With a team of nearly 40 researchers and experts, CCF continues to deliver new insights about the cause, process, effects and treatment of child and adolescent mental health disorders, having published hundreds of research papers in recent years.

CCF researchers are also part of the largest long-term study of brain development and child health ever conducted in the United States. FIU is one of 21 sites for the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study that launched by the National Institutes of Health in 2015. That study follows nearly 12,000 children across the country starting between the ages of 9 and 10. 

Programs in public health are advancing health and wellness while also leading and collaborating on research related to addiction, health disparities, and more. For example, the FIU Research Center in Minority Institutions (FIU-RCMI) is supporting a $3.5 million study by psychology faculty investigating the antecedents and consequences of nicotine vaping among teenagers in Miami-Dade, as well as a separate study examining how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted teenagers’ mental health and substance use.

In addition to research on mental health, psychology faculty affiliated with the FIU Global Forensic and Justice Center conduct research on witness testimony, investigative interviewing, and other areas related to the administration of justice. And the Center for Imaging Science was established nearly five years ago to expand FIU’s neuroimaging research capabilities.

National agencies are increasingly investing in research that explores the interface of mental health and neuroscience, including the NIH, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Justice and NSF. FIU has the infrastructure needed to conduct groundbreaking research in those specific areas. Students and postdoctoral scholars, who are training with some of the best scientists in the country, are instrumental in the process of securing external funding and assisting with the research once a grant starts.

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