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Georgia Southern research focus prompts R2 Carnegie designation

Georgia Southern University is now ranked as an “R2” high research institution, placing it in the top 6% of all institutions ranked by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The “R2” designation, the second-highest classification for research institutions, was unveiled this week.

Carnegie ranked 4,424 universities and colleges — public and private, both for profit and not for profit. Of those, 120 were classified as “R1” or Doctoral Universities: Very High Research Activity, and 139 — including Georgia Southern — were designated as “R2” or Doctoral Universities: High Research Activity.

“This says our faculty have been doing a good job,” said Carl L. Reiber, Ph.D., Georgia Southern’s provost and vice president for academic affairs. “This is a great accomplishment. From a national perspective, it really does put us in a different league. This will say a lot about who we are to prospective students and faculty.”

Reiber said Georgia Southern last year spent about $17.5 million on research to support the university’s broader educational goals and in support of the region’s needs. The elevated ranking of an “R2” came after computing those expenditures with the number of doctoral degrees awarded.

The “R1” and “R2” designations include institutions that conferred at least 20 research/scholarship doctorates and reported a minimum of $5 million dollars of total research expenditures through the NSF HERD survey. The research activity index was then used to determine a cutoff between the “very high research activity” (R1) institutions, and “high research activity” (R2) institutions.

The “R2” ranking and the recent news about Georgia Southern’s $1 billion annual economic impact on southeast Georgia show how much the university means to the region, said Shelley C. Nickel, Georgia Southern’s president.

“This designation is an important recognition of the research across the University that meets the needs of our community,” Nickel said. “I expect that this ‘R2’ ranking will continue to be exemplified by the work we are doing to impact our region and grow our research and scholarship contributions in Savannah.”

Georgia Southern University, a public Carnegie Doctoral/R2 institution founded in 1906, offers 141 degree programs serving nearly 26,500 students through nine colleges on three campuses in Statesboro, Savannah, Hinesville and online instruction. A leader in higher education in southeast Georgia, the University provides a diverse student population with expert faculty, world-class scholarship and hands-on learning opportunities. Georgia Southern creates lifelong learners who serve as responsible scholars, leaders and stewards in their communities. Visit


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