In fiscal year 2015, research expenditures from external sources and research awards to Notre Dame each exceeded $130 million. Research expenditures from all sources continue to grow as Notre Dame pursues its strategic goal of becoming a pre-eminent Catholic research institution. Approximately 57 percent of the funding was awarded by the federal government for research, facilities and equipment, and educational and service programs. Awards from industrial sponsors represented approximately 14 percent of the total awards for fiscal year 2015, with 29 percent being sponsored by foundation and other sponsors.

  • 91% Terminal degrees and doctorates (full-time instructional faculty)
  • 1,119/190 Instructional faculty (full-time/part-time)
  • 304/7 Administrative, professional specialists, librarians, and research fellows (full-time/part-time)
  • 98% Lay persons (full-time instructional faculty) (Faculty to student ratio: 1 to 10)

Research Milestones


In 1893, 10 years before the Wright brothers’ first flight, Notre Dame engineering professor Albert Zahm organized the first International Aeronautic Congress in Chicago. Based upon experiments on campus, he presented a paper that proposed the first modern method for launching airplanes and manually controlling them in flight by using rotating wing parts to balance the aircraft laterally and a double tail to control pitching and side-to-side movement.


Beginning in 1907, Notre Dame priest and professor Rev. Julius Nieuwland, C.S.C., conducted research that 25 years later led to the discovery of the formulae for synthetic rubber. Produced commercially by the DuPont Company under the brand name Neoprene, the highly elastic material is used for products ranging from water-faucet washers to gasoline-pump hoses to the adhesive strips on disposable diapers.


Hsueh-Chia Chang, Bayer Professor of Engineering; director, Center for Microfluidics and Medical Diagnostics, helped pioneer the field of biomicrofluidics—a multidisciplinary field that applies microfluidics’ understanding of how to control and manipulate small volumes of fluid to the study of human health. He is developing easy-to-operate, handheld devices that can rapidly detect such things as pathogens in blood, toxins in food and water, and even track invasive species as they threaten crops and ecosystems.

A student in a radiation research lab

The Notre Dame Radiation Laboratory (NDRL) is the premier research laboratory in the United States for radiation chemistry, the study of chemical reactions induced by ionizing radiation.