Evolution to High Research Spending and Doctoral Production (R2)
Learn more about the criteria, status, and upsides
Towson University is pursuing the Carnegie Classification R2: High Research Activity to build a productive research ecosystem that furthers TU’s impact as an anchor institution for our region and the nation.
The Carnegie Classification tool is used by researchers, policymakers and administrators to inform grant-making and federal and state funding of institutions. It was initiated in 1973 by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education to identify universities by the types of degrees awarded. Universities with the R2: High Research Activity classification award at least 20 research doctoral degrees each year and spend at least $5 million annually in total research.
The R2 designation reinforces that Towson University’s academic environment fosters research and creative activity that breaks new ground, complements current knowledge, and/or leads to superior teaching.
It emphasizes that TU faculty perform work at world-class levels while furthering the university’s mission. This emphasis on research will create more opportunities for students to participate in highly engaged learning experiences both in the classroom and outside it.
As an R2 institution, TU will gain increased funding opportunities (from grants, state, and philanthropy) for faculty, staff and students. We will continue to serve our region’s needs not just through our academic programs but with research on topics that matter to our students and our community.
In the last fiscal year, TU more than doubled its research expenditures – growing from $3.79 million in FY20-21 to $8.78 million in FY21-22. TU already meets the R2 requirement to spend at least $5 million annually on research efforts. We continue to invest in our university to support students, faculty, and infrastructure.
To receive and maintain R2 status, TU must also award at least 20 research doctorates each year (in 21-22, we awarded sixteen). We are taking steps to attract more doctoral students through the introduction of new programs and increased support.
Expanding research activity and developing new graduate degree programs – inclusive of research Ph.D. degrees – will allow TU to respond to the needs of a contemporary workforce and national research agendas.
Advancing funded research activity helps provide more experiential learning opportunities for our students, enhances faculty scholarship, and supports TU in making a global impact by addressing critical challenges that face our world today.
Last year, more than 220 faculty and staff received or submitted proposals for grant funding. This cross-campus involvement is a reflection of our university-wide commitment to strengthening institutional research efforts and achieving R2 Carnegie Classification status.
TU faculty and staff received $15.5 million in award funding last year – leading to an increase of 26% over the past five years.
In 2022, 133 institutions across the nation were classified as R2. Examples of R2 institutions are below, some of these are also our MHEC aspirational peers. These institutions do not have medical schools, and fewer than 1.5 percent of degrees are conferred in engineering.
They are a diverse set, in size, research expenditure, and institutional goals. At TU, we aim to be an R2 institution that will hold high value for professors’ roles as educators first.