2023 Annual Research Report

Big Discoveries That Drive Big Solutions

Research is a catalyst for widely shared prosperity

Research, innovation, scholarship and creative activities at Oregon State University have built our global reputation and achieved remarkable results. Working through transdisciplinary teams across the sciences, engineering, arts, social sciences and humanities, Oregon State researchers continue to make significant discoveries and apply pragmatic, scalable problem-solving to the problems the world needs solved.

During the 2023 fiscal year, awards and research revenue totaled a record $480 million. This includes $426.7 million in federal funding, a 45% increase from 2022. Oregon State’s overall research expenditures also increased 23% to a record $367 million. Research expenditures, a key metric to measure research productivity, have increased for 19 out of the past 21 years at Oregon State.

We continue to build on this success as the university launches its 2024-30 strategic plan, Prosperity Widely Shared: The Oregon State Plan. Its goals are interdependent, with research integrated into all three. Building on our longstanding and emerging institutional strengths, Oregon State will be:

  • A university focused on big discoveries that drive big solutions through transdisciplinary teams whose discoveries are translated into applications with far-reaching, lasting public value.
  • A university where every student graduates, offering research opportunities that provide invaluable real-world experience.
  • A university that fuels a thriving world, applying research and faculty expertise to drive economic, workforce and community development.

As Oregon State University launches this ambitious and visionary strategic plan, the Division of Research and Innovation looks forward to supporting faculty researchers and students in achieving the goal to create equitable, sustainable prosperity across Oregon and beyond.

Irem Y. Tumer | Vice President for Research and Innovation

Breakthrough Research

theory of relativity

Confirming Einstein’s theory of relativity

Finding a “chorus” of low-frequency gravitational waves, a team of astrophysicists has confirmed one of the main predictions of Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. The discovery of these waves, after studying signals from 68 pulsars in the Milky Way, is a key to understanding how structures are formed in the cosmos.

cancer molecules

Bringing the heat to fight cancer

Magnetic nanoparticles have shown anti-cancer potential for years. Now, Oregon State researchers have developed an advanced thermal decomposition method to make these particles hotter than ever before, improving their ability to weaken or destroy cancer cells. This breakthrough could lead to novel nanoparticles with high heating performance for treating cancer.

underwater vehicles

Designing smarter, more capable underwater vehicles

With $5.3 million in funding from the Office of Naval Research, Oregon State researchers are working to improve the intelligence and functionality of autonomous underwater vehicles. UAVs have multiple applications in underwater construction, marine exploration, ship maintenance and support for wave energy systems.

Zebra Fish

Modernizing zebrafish lab to benefit human health

Research using zebrafish can be easily applied to humans because they have similar developmental and genomic processes. A $7.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health will modernize Oregon State’s zebrafish lab, whose studies on human and environmental health have included the toxicity of sunscreens and the health impacts of 5G wireless networks.

fish migration

Understanding the economics and geopolitics of fish migration

Climate change could lead fish stocks along the U.S. coast to migrate to Canadian or even Russian waters in 20 years. Through a $1.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense, Oregon State researchers will explore how to measure the movement of fisheries and the potential economic and geopolitical consequences.


Developing climate-smart potatoes

Through a $50 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Oregon State is collaborating with potato farmers and Native American Tribes to test rotation crops, reduced tillage seedings and other climate-resilient practices. Such techniques could enhance soil health and reduce the carbon footprint of the Pacific Northwest’s $2.2 billion potato industry.

Faculty Excellence

Distinguished Professors

Since 1988, Oregon State has awarded the designation Distinguished Professor to faculty nominated by their deans. Recognizing exceptional records in scholarship and creative work, teaching and mentoring, and public engagement and service, the title Distinguished Professor is the highest faculty honor granted by the university.

Emily HoEmily Ho | Nutrition
yanyun zhaoYanyun Zhao | Food Science and Technology

National Recognition

NSF Top 5 Research News Story of 2023

Breakthrough in computer chip energy efficiency could cut data center electricity use

Authors and Editors

The Authors and Editors Series celebrates literary and scholarly books published by Oregon State faculty each year. Selected authors and editors are featured in a series of readings, lectures, discussions and receptions, hosted by the Office of the Provost in partnership with the OSU Center for the Humanities.

Seeking Fortune ElsewhereSindya Bhanoo | Seeking Fortune Elsewhere
Flowers in AmberGeorge O. Poinar | Flowers in Amber

Journal Articles

Driving Big Solutions

semiconductor fabrication

Advancing semiconductor technologies

Oregon State is leading a $1 million National Science Foundation project to advance semiconductor technologies in the Pacific Northwest. The project will complement the federal CHIPS and Science Act and related state legislation, with goals to accelerate domestic semiconductor production, drive transdisciplinary research, expand pathways to degrees and industry careers, and boost regional economies.

climate emergency

Warning of an unequivocal climate emergency

An international coalition of researchers has found that 16 of 35 vital signs that track climate change are at record extremes. Oregon State scientists, lead authors of the report, “World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency 2022,” share data on extreme heat, tree cover lost to fires and increasing fossil fuel consumption and advocate for science-based climate policy decisions.

mass timber production

Promoting microfluids and mass timber solutions

Oregon State is leading two federally designated Tech Hubs, one focused on microfluidic technology for semiconductors and the other focused on mass timber design and manufacturing. The Corvallis Mircofluids Tech Hub will establish global leadership in the development, scaling and commercialization of microfluids technology for use in semiconductor and electronics cooling. The Pacific Northwest Mass Timber Tech Hub will build on research, education and outreach by the TallWood Design Institute, a collaboration between Oregon State and the University of Oregon.

Leading Change

windmills and battery storage

A better battery for storing renewable energy

Renewable power sources like wind and solar need large-scale battery arrays to store generated energy and supply the electric grid. Oregon State researchers have developed a new electrolyte for zinc metal batteries that increases their charging efficiency exponentially — making them a safe, efficient, economical and sustainable alternative to lithium-ion batteries.

child playing

Cultivating the next generation of agriculture professionals

The OSU Extension Service will use a five-year, $10 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to coordinate youth programs to support the next generation of food and agriculture professionals. Programming will integrate racial justice and equity, a climate change curriculum that emphasizes sustainable agriculture and forestry, future career opportunities and more.

dungenous crab

Investigating climate change impacts on marine life

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration awarded Oregon State and its partners $4.2 million to uncover the stressors and impacts of climate change on marine ecosystems along the coast of Oregon, Washington and Northern California. Researchers will focus on Dungeness crab and krill — two species that play a critical role in ocean health, coastal and Tribal economies and the ocean’s food web.

Our Impact by the Numbers

$480 Million

Total Research Awards (FY23)


Proposals Submitted on Average per Year


Fulbright Fellows

>$2.8 Billion

Oregon State Research Awards (since FY15)


Federal Funding Relative to All Research Awards (FY23)


NSF Career Awards (since 1999)

Recognition and Awards

  • 1 National Medal of Science
  • 1 National Science Board Vannevar Bush Award
  • 2 Nobel Prizes
  • 2 MacArthur Foundation Fellows
  • 2 Guggenheim Fellows
  • 3 NOAA Administrators
  • 3 National Academy of Sciences Members
  • 44 American Association for the Advancement of Sciences Fellows

Faculty Excellence

  • 4 top 1% of the world’s most-cited researchers
  • 180+ endowed faculty and chair positions

University Profile

  • 1 of Only 3 land, sea, space and sun grant universities in the U.S.
  • #1 most innovative university in the Pacific Northwest (US News & World Report)
  • 36,636 Students at campuses in Corvallis and Bend, program centers in Portland, Newport and LaGrande, and exclusively online, including 2,213 international students from 102 countries
  • 15,000 Acres of college-owned forests statewide, 11 agricultural experiment stations at 14 locations and the OSU Extension Service in all 36 counties, plus the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs reservation
  • $1.54 Billion in total Oregon State budget (FY23)
  • $1.5 Billion in capital projects since 2000
  • 36% of research awards are >$5 million (not including RCRV and PacWave)
  • 73% of research awards are >$1 million (not including RCRV and PacWave)

Innovations to Market

osu professors in lab

Agilent acquires e-MSion

Agilent Technologies Inc. has acquired e-MSion, founded in 2015 by Oregon State scientists who developed the ExD cell. This innovative electron capture dissociation technology for mass spectrometry can help life science researchers more comprehensively characterize molecules of interest, accelerating the development of biopharma products to treat disease. 

osu professors in lab

It takes Moxie to bring research to market

Oregon State’s Advantage Accelerator has launched Moxie, a customized innovation and entrepreneurship program designed for women innovators. Moxie, defined as a blend of determination, courage and persistence, includes three phases — EducateEngage and Execute — where participants develop skills to take their research to market.

digit the robot

Agility to open factory for humanoid robots

Agility Robotics, creator of the groundbreaking bipedal robot Digit, is opening the world’s first large-scale factory for humanoid robots. Located in Salem, Oregon, the RoboFab will employ up to 500 workers with capacity to produce more than 10,000 robots annually. Digit is designed to work alongside people in logistics and warehouse applications, augmenting the productivity, efficiency and wellness of the human workforce.

Large Facility Spotlight

Oregon State’s O.H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory is the largest facility of its kind in North America. Through research, testing, education and outreach, the wave lab helps to improve the resilience and sustainability of coastal areas, as well as develop innovative design solutions for coastal infrastructure. Equipped with a large wave flume and directional wave basin, the lab allows researchers to study hydrodynamics, floating structures, renewable energy devices and the stability of coastal structures. Waves can mimic tsunamis, hurricanes and other storm conditions, helping researchers prepare for and mitigate their impacts.

Established in 1972, the wave lab is supported by the National Science Foundation and the Pacific Marine Energy Center.

“Bigger is better.The closer the simulation gets to actual size, the more reliable the results. Researchers may know exactly what structure they want to test, but they may not know a lot about what forces to apply or how to conduct the experiment. We help them with everything so that they leave with the data they need.”

Pedro Lomonaco | Director | O.H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory

Beaver Research Champion

tsunami research in the wave lab

Research Advancement

rending of the collaborative innovation complex


Building next-generation research capabilities

The Jen-Hsun and Lori Huang Collaborative Innovation Complex will incorporate multiple state-of-the-art capabilities to advance solutions in materials science, computation, artificial intelligence, engineering and robotics: one of the nation’s most powerful supercomputers, a cleanroom to develop next-generation semiconductors and an extended reality theater for interactive simulations focused on robot systems, human health and other fields.

regional class research vessel

Launching OSU’s new research vessel

The first of three Regional Class Research Vessels, the R/V Taani was successfully launched last May in Louisiana. Oregon State led design and construction for the ship, which will feature advanced technologies and systems to expand ocean-based research, enhance capabilities and improve safety. To be completed in 2024 and operated by OSU, Taani will be based in Newport on the Oregon Coast.