University generates high research activity with R1 status

Lauryn Tadda, Reporter

In Feb. 2022 Kent State University claimed status as an R1 Institution. The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education named Kent State a R1 — or very high research — institution, which is the highest research ranking that Carnegie designates.

“I can’t even begin to tell you how many institutions that are R2 have as their primary goal to become R1,” said Douglas Delahanty, vice president for research and sponsored programs.

Kent State’s designation remained an R2 for 49 years before Carnegie appointed Kent State as a very high research activity institution. The big push for Kent State to become an R1 were the doctorates given out.

“You have the number of doctoral degrees that you confer in four different areas: STEM, social sciences, humanities and

Douglas Delahanty, vice president for research and sponsored programs. (Courtesy of Kent State University)

other,” Delahanty said. “That in all honesty is our driving force. We award a lot of doctorates.”

The classifications that support being designated an R1 institution include excellence in obtaining grant dollars, providing research support staff — postdocs and non-faculty researchers — and awarding doctoral degrees. 

Kent State is home to five research institutions: Advanced Materials and Liquid Crystals, Anti-Racism and Equity, Brain Health Research, Environmental Science and Design and Healthy Communities.

“The institutes are ways we really highlight many of our successes, each one has a large group of faculty from very diverse disciplines,” Delahanty said.

Kent State plans to retain the designation for this fiscal year, with multiple difference approaches.

“In 2028 we really plan to position ourselves,” Delahanty said. “We have done a couple different things, we invested in the post-doc and non-faculty researchers, we have formed and funded an Office of Research Development and we are looking for a director right now, we also just finished a pilot funding program.”

The Office of Research Development plays an important role in retaining the R1 designation. The Office will ensure the grants Kent State submits will be the highest quality to have the most likelihood to be funded.

“It is charged with a couple things, one is working with faculty on large scale proposals and the rest of the office will be charged with three individuals to increase the quality of the proposals,” Delahanty said.

There are only five R1 designations in Ohio and only 146 Universities have this recognition in the nation. The designation is made every three years and the next designation is Feb. 2025. 

“The R1 designation was really game changing for Kent and recognized the excellent stuff that Kent is doing,” Delahanty said.

Lauryn Tadda is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected].