Robert Kirken

Robert Kirken, dean of the UTEP College of Science, in one of the university’s labs.

The University of Texas at El Paso hit a new research funding threshold last week.

Officials announced Thursday that the university has hit more than $108 million in annual research funding expenditures, the first time UTEP has done so.

The expenditures include federal, state and private sources of funds, and officials said research expenditures at UTEP have doubled since 2008.

“UTEP is one of the top research institutions in the nation,” UTEP President Heather Wilson said in an emailed statement. “We produce meaningful research of public value and make a positive impact on the community we serve.”

Earlier this year, UTEP announced the university hit R1 research status for the first time, sharing the designation with some ivy league schools. The designation means UTEP is a high-activity research institution.

UTEP is also gearing up to expand its research facilities, including a new $70 million center for advanced manufacturing and aerospace.

“It is an incredible credit to our faculty and staff that we’ve come this far,” said Roberto Osegueda, vice president for research at UTEP, in a statement. “Thanks to their tenacity and talent, the university’s power to innovate, discover and give back has been augmented far beyond our initial expectations.”

Email El Paso Inc. reporter Sara Sanchez at or call (915) 534-4422, ext. 105.