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Road to R1

FAU is on the precipice to achieve Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education’s highest and most coveted Very High Research Activity status (R1) for the next adjustment in 2024.

What is the significance of R1/Tier One designation?

The R1 designation indicates a truly comprehensive university that spurs economic development, attracts high-quality students and faculty and increases external funding. R1 universities meet benchmarks in research, educational activity and vital research staffing including postdoctoral fellows, as measured by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

The classification measures universities across multiple indicators, including:

  • Research expenditures in STEM and non-STEM fields
  • Doctorates awarded in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields; social sciences; humanities; and other fields with a research emphasis
“Strategic plans are often written with the aim of climbing up the classification ladder. Institutional budgets are drafted, facilities are built, academic programs are started and new faculty are hired - all with an eye toward making it more likely that an R1 classification can be reached.”
-Forbes Media LLC

How do we get there in 2025?

Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education reviews existing R1 designations and new applications every three years. The next adjustment is expected in 2025. Calculations that determine rankings are not public, therefore FAU has formulated a methodology to predict standings. Based on this calculation, in 2021 a minimum ranking of 137 granted R1 status. In 2021, FAU ranked at 185. There are strategies in place that are predicted to move FAU’s ranking to approximately 122 by 2025.

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Here's a look at the strategic tactics Florida Atlantic should put in place to achieve R1 status by 2025.

Goal for 2025: Includes prediction for doctorates in FY23

DoR associate title for instructors performing research. Postdoc hiring initiative. Adopt USF’s research staff definition

Counting institutionally funded research effort: ~$20M research expenditures

CIP code change to ensure doctorate in comparative studies counts toward Humanities

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Once reached, it will be critical to sustain R1 status

For Florida Atlantic to sustain its place in this class of esteemed institutions across the United States, strategic investments need to be secured and implemented within the next 18-24 months.

Talent Acquisition:

Faculty, Post-Doctoral Positions, Doctoral Students

High-performing, research-oriented faculty, post-doctoral researchers, and doctoral students are central to the pursuit of R1 status. They drive innovative scholarship and transformational, externally funded research that generate positive ripple effects into the classroom. While FAU’s research expenditures have doubled over the last six years, a plateau has been reached due to existing investigators hitting their maximum capacities. To continue FAU’s upward trajectory, the number of research-oriented faculty, post-doctoral fellows and doctoral students needs to grow.

Institute Faculty Hiring Plan

24 Hires: Two co-hires per institute, per year for three years

Budget: Rec.: $2.1M, Non-Rec.: $12M (more than three years); institute funding only (requires departmental matches)

Potential Funding Source: New funding request and/or utilizing open positions

Responsibility: Provost/Deans/DoR

ROI: Increase research expenditures to $100M for R1 metrics

Institute Postdoctoral Hiring Plan

Eight Hires: Two hires per institute, per year

Budget: $624,000, recurring; requested increase to DoR budget

Responsibility: Division of Research

ROI: Increase research staff and research expenditures

Competitive Doctoral Student Compensation Plan

Add stipend lines in key doctoral programs and increase FAU doctoral stipends to minimum of national average (up to $30K).

Budget: $1M, recurring

Responsibility: Provost/Graduate College Dean/Institutional Advancement

ROI: Increase and maintain doctorate numbers for R1 metrics

Research Acceleration:

Seed Funding Program

Strong seed funding programs are essential to growing a university’s research portfolio. They initiate research that can eventually qualify for extramural funding from federal agencies and other credible sources. A standard practice in the world of research, seed grant programs issue small grant awards (typically ranging from $5,000 - $100,000) that allow faculty to acquire preliminary data that enables larger, more competitive proposals. The goal is to eventually attain full, multi-year, extramural funding.

Seed Funding Expansion Plan

Implement seed funding program, annually

Budget: $800,000 recurring

Responsibility: Division of Research

ROI: Maintain/increase research expenditures for R1 metrics by increasing external funding submissions.

Infrastructure Expansion:

Facilities and Administrative Support

Adequate infrastructure is required to support significant research activity. Research demands specialized space needs and significant administrative support to guide and operate this multi-faceted, deadline-oriented and highly regulated enterprise. With the addition of every new grant, the need for specialized/lab space and services grows.

Lab Space Expansion Plan

Expand net assignable research space by a minimum of 43,500 square feet (sf) to accommodate new hires

Potential Source:

  • P3 Partnerships (more than 8,000sf)
  • New FAU Stiles Nicholson Brain Institute facility/Jupiter Campus (35,000sf)
  • Proposed Health Science Facility on Boca Campus (37,500sf)

ROI: Maintain/increase research expenditures, provide cutting-edge research environment for graduate students and research staff for R1 metrics.

Institute Research Administration Expansion Plan

Increase number of institute-based research administrators to support an increase in external, sponsored funding

Budget: $522,600 recurring

Responsibility: Division of Research/Institutes

ROI: Maintain/increase research expenditures for R1 metrics