For the second time in a row, Binghamton University has been named in the “Research 1 (R1): Doctoral Universities — Very high research activity” list by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.
The Carnegie Classification is a framework that distinguishes higher education in the United States by ranking institutions on their research programs based on specified criteria. To qualify for “R1: Doctoral Universities — very high research activity,” the highest ranked category for doctoral universities, institutions must award at least 20 research or scholarship doctoral degrees and have at least $5 million in total research expenditures in the year being considered. BU has jumped six spots since first being named in 2018-19.
An institution’s annual research expenditures, the number of faculty involved in research and its number of Ph.D. graduates are measures considered in the ranking, according to Michael Jacobson, executive director of BU’s Office of Strategic Research Initiatives, and Kevin Boettcher, research development specialist for the Office of Strategic Research Initiatives. According to both Jacobson and Boettcher, BU has continuously grown in these metrics, justifying its qualification for the achievement.
“It is a recognition of the high volume of research and the quality of education programs conducted at [BU],” Jacobson wrote in an email. “[BU]’s faculty are experienced in developing innovative approaches to education that integrate research into the curriculum. This combination of student training and research is what the reviewers for the Carnegie Classification like to see.”
Bahgat Sammakia, vice president for research and distinguished professor of mechanical engineering, said BU’s continuous effort for improvement in its research programs has kept it in the R1 category for two years. The University consistently competes for and wins research funding from federal agencies and sponsors, according to Sammakia, as well as recruits and mentors graduate students and invests in research infrastructure.
There are 146 institutions named on the R1 list, including universities like Cornell University, Duke University and Columbia University. BU is one of the 11 New York state universities named. Jacobson and Boettcher said the naming is significant for BU because of the opportunities the recognition has provided for the University advance in research, such as being more competitive for grants and funding.
“This ranking will allow sponsors and funding agencies to quickly recognize our research capabilities, while other institutions will be more likely to want to collaborate with us on large research projects,” Jacobson wrote. “It incentivizes our faculty to think of the large innovative projects that make us a national leader in research.”
Aqib Chowdhury, a fifth-year doctoral candidate in the clinical science program, praised the achievement and what he described as BU’s dedication to promoting scholarship within research in all levels of training, especially in the psychology department, as a reason for the success.
“For example, students are regularly encouraged to join research labs in order to gain firsthand experience,” Chowdhury wrote. “Instructors emphasize the use of empirical science in order to understand the etiology and maintenance of psychological disorders. Faculty members and graduate students are conducting research and working on manuscripts every day.”
Isaac Osborn, a junior majoring in psychology, said he was impressed by BU being named on the R1 list but not surprised. When starting the college process as an out-of-state student, his invitation to the First-Year Research Immersion Program (FRI) drew him to the University. It later provided the opportunity to further his involvement in research on campus.
“I believe at the time of being invited, [BU] was one of only a few schools in the Northeast to have a program as such,” Osborn wrote. “Having such an early exposure to the research process from being involved [in] FRI helped me gain a position as a research assistant at the Binghamton Anxiety Clinic, where I am helping with a number of projects regarding social anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder. The research I am helping with is exciting and very interesting, and I imagine this is similar among many other [BU] research labs.”
BU has also risen on The National Science Foundation (NSF) Higher Education Research and Development Survey (HERD) rankings. HERD is a fiscal counting of a University’s success in receiving and investing funding for research and development, according to Jacobson. The ranking is an important tool in indicating BU’s success in research, Sammakia said, because it allows for the comparison of research funding and activity between institutions.
“There’s a famous saying that ‘if it matters, measure it,’” Sammakia wrote. “Well, research funding matters in all sorts of ways. It’s important that we measure it, and also that we use this opportunity to see how we stack up to other research institutions.”