UNH achieves top-tier research recognition

Friday, March 22, 2019

Top Tier Research

UNH has secured its place among the top research universities in the country according to one lauded metric. The university obtained the “very high research activity,” or R1, designation from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education when the 2018 update to its classifications was released in December.

There are only 130 doctoral-granting universities in the R1 category; UNH is among just 43 of those without medical schools to boost their overall research output. UNH was previously classified in the second tier — doctoral universities high research activity, or R2 — and ascending to the highest ranking accomplishes a significant goal that Jan Nisbet, senior vice provost for research at UNH, has been pursuing for the past decade.

“This is a powerful recognition of UNH as one of the nation’s highest-performing research universities,” says Nisbet. “It underscores our ongoing commitment to research and scholarship that improves the lives of people here in the Granite State and across the globe.”

The designation is much more than a gold star for the university, however. Nisbet says it will boost UNH’s efforts to attract talented undergraduate and graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, faculty and staff, and notes that it’s a strong signal to a range of external constituents that UNH is a hub of high-quality research and education.

It also positions UNH well among its regional competitor institutions. The only other R1 public universities in New England are the University of Connecticut and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and both are nearly double the size of UNH.

Top Tier Research

The size of UNH’s research impact has long been clear, though. The school is ranked in the top 10 nationally for space plasma physics, academic productivity in the field of ecology, competitively funded marine-related research and publication impact in geoscience and forestry, respectively.

Powered by more than $110 million in competitive external funding each year, UNH also can boast that more than 20 NASA satellites have launched with UNH-designed and built instruments on board. The school is a world leader in seafloor mapping and one of only four universities to receive the STARS Platinum rating — the highest possible ranking from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

“UNH’s classification as an R1 institution reflects the excellence of the innovative research that our faculty and students are pursuing across our campuses,” says President James W. Dean Jr. “This confirms UNH’s growing reputation as a national leader and as a great place for students to work side-by-side with our faculty mentors on cutting-edge research.