One indicator of the health of a research university is its sponsored research level. In other words, are others investing in conducting research there?
In the case of VCU, they have never invested more. In fiscal year 2011, sponsored research reached a record $256 million. That number is up almost $37 million since 2008.
The biggest source of research funding at VCU continues to be the National Institutes of Health, which topped $88.5 million. State and federal government were also large sources of funding.