Research is a key area in the triumvirate functions that the university has, the two others being instruction and community development.

UST has articulated its commitment to research which is “the pursuit of truth and the generation, advancement, and transmission of knowledge in the arts and the sciences, both sacred and civil”.

There are five research flagships, namely: Science and Technology; Health & Allied Sciences; Social Sciences and Education; Arts and Humanities; and Sacred Sciences. Among the areas of research in the university are Natural Products research, Chemical Sensors and Biosensors, Materials Science, Energy research, Pure and Applied Microbiology, Biodiversity, Environmental Science, Food Science and Engineering, Urban environment and Climate Change Preparedness, Education, Arts, Culture, and Humanities, Gerontology, Migration Studies, Youth Studies, and Corporate Social Responsibility.

UST was designated by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to host a Zonal Research Center (ZRC) for the National Capital Region in April 2010 for a period of one year. In December 2011, UST was named as one of the member institutions of the Philippine Higher Education Research Network (PHERNET).

UST research projects receive grants from various external local and international agencies such as:

  • Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
  • Department of Botany, Natural Museum Stuttgart, Germany
  • International Union of Immunological Societies
  • Bio-Asia France
  • International Federation of Catholic Universities Center for Coordination of Research (IFCU-CCR)
  • Global Development Network (GDN)
  • Asian and Pacific Federation of Clinical Biochemistry (APFCB)
  • National Research Council of the Philippines
  • Philippine Council for Aquatic and Marine Research and Development (PCAMRD)
  • Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technologies Research and Development (PCIEETRD)
  • DOST- Science Education Institute (SEI)
  • Philippine Council for Health Research & Development (PCHRD)
  • Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA)
  • Commission on Higher Education (CHED)
  • Philippine Higher Education Research Network (PHERNET).
  • United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)