University of Nevada, Reno elevated to ‘R1’ Carnegie classification

University’s commitment to earning classification since 2013 pays off

University among only 130 institutions to receive the R1 designation by Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.


12/21/2018 | By: Kerri Garcia |

As a confirmation of its continued drive forward to excellence, the University of Nevada, Reno achieved a research milestone this week – being elevated to an “R1” institution by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. An R1 designation by Carnegie is reserved for doctoral universities with the highest levels of research activity.

Among 130 institutions to receive the R1 designation in the current selection process, raising its classification from the R2 “high research” to the “very high research activity” R1 classification, follows a concerted effort by the University to elevate its commitment to research and graduate education, first put forth by University President Marc Johnson during his Oct. 9, 2013, State of the University Address, “Building a Culture of Competitive Excellence.”

“This is the culmination of a quest that began years ago and was only made possible through the significant contributions of so many within our University community,” Johnson said. “The honor of this classification is a tremendous achievement, but the commitment of our faculty to build research and graduate programs to earn this classification is what is important.”

The University’s work at building research and graduate programs in search of becoming among the best high impact research universities in the nation has led to important gains that have strengthened the quality, breadth and impact of the institution’s research and graduate education endeavors. Just in the last year, for example, doctoral student enrollment is up 13.5 percent and new doctoral students are up 29.8 percent.

These promising graduate school numbers complement the University’s research expenditure portfolio, which grew by almost 65 percent over the past five years. The projected R&D expenditure amount to be reported to the National Science Foundation in January 2019 is $145 million. The University’s faculty, staff and students are committed to improving lives of all Nevadans through leading edge research, discovery and outreach in multiple areas such as neurosciences, new treatments for those with rare diseases, disruption of infectious diseases through rapid diagnostics, safe and efficient transportation systems and mobility, protecting natural water environments, safer infrastructure, dryland and sustainable agriculture, and data science, artificial intelligence and robotics. The University is committed to anchoring the region’s and the state’s R&D competitiveness and contributing to high-energy and vibrant innovation ecosystem.

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas was also elevated to the R1 classification.

“Both the University of Nevada, Reno and UNLV are taking us from the most populous state without an R1 Carnegie Research University to a state with two R-1 Carnegie universities,” Johnson said. “This shows the value of the state of Nevada’s investment in research universities through infrastructure and Knowledge Fund investments – a real partnership.”

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According to Inside Higher Education, for more than four decades, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has produced the definitive classification of higher education institutions. Roughly every five years, now changed to three, the foundation’s highly anticipated grouping of colleges and universities offers a useful organizing structure of the higher education landscape – for example, giving foundations, government agencies and others that want to support or study, say, small rural community colleges or intensive research universities the information they need.

The Carnegie Classification has been the leading framework for recognizing and describing institutional diversity in U.S. higher education for the past four decades. Starting in 1970, the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education developed a classification of colleges and universities to support its program of research and policy analysis. Doctoral institutions are classified as either very high or high based upon funded research and doctoral degrees awarded.


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