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1/26/11 - MSU hits 'very high research activity' benchmark

Mississippi State is among the nation's leading major research universities, according to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

In the foundation's latest analysis of American higher education, the state's largest public institution of higher learning is designated as "a very high research activity university," which represents the highest level of research activity for doctorate-granting universities in the U.S.

The Carnegie classification has been the leading framework for recognizing and describing institutional diversity in U.S. higher education for the past four decades.

Mississippi State is the only school in the state with the distinction, and one of only 108 nationwide.

"The very high research activity designation is additional confirmation that as Mississippi's flagship we are competing with the nation's top universities," said David Shaw, vice president for research and economic development.

The land-grant institution joins universities such as Stanford, MIT, Duke and Johns Hopkins in the very high research activity tier. Overall research funding, number of doctoral graduates, and research staff are among the criteria considered in determining the classifications.

"The very high research activity classification is an important benchmark for us," said MSU President Mark E. Keenum. "It represents our ongoing commitment to creating new economic opportunity through world-changing innovation, and I am very proud of the contributions of our entire university to reach this milestone."

Shaw said Mississippi State "is a major force for economic growth and development in the state, and much of that impact is made possible by our research enterprise.

"Funding agencies and our industry partners know what our faculty are capable of and the quality of our work," he added.

In FY 2010, the university secured $201 million in external research funding. In its most recent reporting of academic research and development expenditures (FY 2008), the National Science Foundation ranked Mississippi State 58th among public institutions for total R&D spending. Among all institutions--public and private--the university's expenditures in agricultural sciences ranked 7th nationally with engineering 34th.

Of special note, the Carnegie Foundation also recently recognized Mississippi State with its 2010 Community Engagement Classification. (See

Foundation President Anthony Bryk cited MSU's excellent alignment among mission, culture, leadership, resources and practices in support of "dynamic and noteworthy community engagement." Additional information about the system is online at

For additional information about research at Mississippi State, visit

JIM LAIRD | University Relations and the Office of Research and Economic Development

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