Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Almost R1: FAU on track to reach highest research status in 2025

Since 2021, research faculty and students at FAU have been working hard to reach the R1 status of Carnegie Classifications, a designation commending research efforts and achievements. University faculty and students anticipate the adjustment.
FAU Research Park sign. Photo courtesy of Alex Dolce.

After multiple years of strategic planning, FAU is on its way to be designated as an R1 Institution in 2025, which is the Carnegie Classification of Institution of Higher Education’s “Very High Research Activity” status, according to Gregg Fields, the interim vice president for research at FAU.

“Achieving R1 status represents a culmination of dedicated effort on behalf of the FAU faculty, staff, Colleges, Institutes, and administration. It’s an achievement that we all should be proud of,” Fields wrote in a statement to the UP.

FAU’s anticipated change from its current R2 “High Research Activity” status to R1 is based on the university’s recent research expenditures, which reached over $67 million in 2022, as well as the number of doctoral graduates, which reached 125, according to Fields’ Jan. 4 email announcement

The Carnegie Classifications were originally created to study higher education and now are used to organize higher education systems in the U.S., said Sara Gast, the deputy executive director for the American Council on Education (ACE).

“The classifications are descriptions of different types of institutions,” Gast explained. “In 2025, when the next classifications will be released, institutions will be classified based on a variety of different characteristics about that institution. One of those will be the amount of research they do.”

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and ACE recently partnered to stricten the requirements for all the Basic Classification in order to challenge universities to “meaningfully address the nation’s pressing social, racial, and economic concerns,” reads the Carnegie Foundation’s website.

Now, the Basic Classification requires a minimum of $50 million in research expenditures and 70 research graduates for a university to be designated as R1, compared to in 2021 where the spending minimum was $5 million and the doctoral research-based degrees minimum was 20, according to both organizations.

In the 2022-2023 fiscal year, FAU submitted 631 research proposals and received 459 awards with a total value of $75.4 million.

Major agencies such as the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Education, among others, are the largest contributors to the funding of FAU’s research programs. 

Of the 10 colleges listed in FAU’s 2023 Momentum Report, the College of Engineering and Computer Science has received the highest funding of $14.5 million, and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, founded in 2010, was given $8.6 million for research.

Patrick Grant, the College of Medicine’s interim senior associate dean for research, believes the pending R1 status not only reflects the accomplishments of current students involved in research, but also shows that the program will provide students with the skills and experience needed to become a well-rounded researcher.

“It reflects our faculty’s commitment to pioneering research, training, and global collaborations and is exemplified by the hard work of faculty, staff and trainees and their collective success in winning federal, state and foundation awards totaling greater than $31.5 million within the College of Medicine this past academic year,” Grant wrote in a statement. “As a career scientist and mentor, I’m proud to be part of FAU’s evolution into an R1 institution.”

Sakshi Pandit, a first-year medical biology major, was involved in a Project Lead the Way STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) program while in high school where she participated in scientific research under mentorship. She feels the updated status would inspire incoming freshmen who are interested in research to continue pursuing their STEM-based passion projects.

“The change in status may encourage students to continue their research journey with mentors or professionals, building on the foundation established in high school and fostering a culture of independent and impactful research at the individual level,” Pandit wrote in a statement.

Anticipating the new research status, Student Government President Dalia Calvillo also commends all FAU students who have contributed to graduate and undergraduate research.

“I am extremely proud of our university for achieving this milestone. But I am even more proud and admire all of our students who have contributed and conducted research at Florida Atlantic,” Calvillo wrote in a statement.

Elisabeth Gaffney is the Managing Editor for the University Press. For more information on this article or others, you can reach Elisabeth at [email protected] or DM her on Instagram @elisabethgaff.

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About the Contributor
Elisabeth Gaffney
Elisabeth Gaffney, Editor-at-Large
Elisabeth is a senior majoring in multimedia journalism and double minoring in linguistics and sociology. She is a creative, kitten and coffee-loving workaholic with a love for the performing arts and storytelling. She hopes to one day work as a reporter at an established newspaper. In summer 2024, she is interning with The 11th Hour with Stephanie Ruhle at MSNBC in New York City.

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