I am delighted to inform you that, for the first time in our history, we have been chosen as one of the top research universities in the nation by the influential Carnegie Classification.
Earlier this week, the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education released its newest listings, with George Mason University elevated to the “Highest Research Activity” tier. Only 115 universities are included in this group, with another 107 being considered as having “Higher Research Activity.” Until now, we had been included in that second tier.
To be recognized by Carnegie as a major research university nationally and internationally is a tremendous milestone for our university, for our state and for our region. Every Mason faculty and staff member and student should take tremendous pride in this accomplishment. We earned this because of your years of hard work and dedication.
This change in classification, the realization of a goal set forth in our 10-year strategic plan, reflects our overall growth in research activity and doctoral graduates in the past five years. We know these rankings can sometimes be fickle and subject to change over time. Yet, earning a position in the top tier for the first time represents a major milestone in our journey.
In addition to our traditional strengths in economics and the social sciences—where we have received numerous recognitions, including the Nobel Prize on two occasions—in recent years we have made significant progress in biomedical research, neuroscience, cybersecurity, information technology and other scientific and technological domains.
We have built state-of-the-art laboratories for biomedical and infectious disease research, and we have expanded our research infrastructure on our various campuses. We have recruited world-class scientists who have already attracted millions of dollars in research grants and have helped spin off several startups. It is rewarding to see that our work is delivering results and being recognized at the highest level in our profession.
However, this encouraging recognition is not the endgame. Instead, we should treat it as a signal to the scientific community, funding organizations and industry partners that we have the capacity and commitment to play a leading role in tackling some of the most pressing challenges of our time; that we are the innovation engine that our state and regional economy needs to stay competitive.
We have much work ahead of us and are looking forward to working with the administration, the legislature, our private partners and the other research universities in Virginia to continue to strengthen our research capabilities.
Dr. Ángel Cabrera
February 4, 2016