UAHuntsville Joins Select Group of National Research Universities - Carnegie Foundation

UAHuntsville Joins Select Group of National Research Universities - Carnegie Foundation

The University of Alabama in Huntsville has reached a major milestone in its quest to become one of the nation's leading research universities.

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has announced that UAHuntsville has been classified in the "very high" research category, placing it among an elite group of only 73 public universities in the United States. UAHuntsville's new classification was based on data from 2008, according to the Carnegie Foundation.

Malcolm Portera, President of UAHuntsville and Chancellor of the University of Alabama System, said the classification affirms the importance of research to the university.

"We are extremely proud of the world-class research that defines our campus," Dr. Portera said. "Achieving classification in this premier category recognizes the accomplishments achieved by our faculty, researchers, students and staff, and reflects the growth in the university's impressive research portfolio."

UAHuntsville had been classified as a high research activity institution for numerous years, but this new ranking puts the university at the highest category attainable in the Carnegie Foundation rankings. The classification is based on various criteria: R&D expenditures in science and engineering as well as non-S&E fields; science and engineering research staff; doctoral conferrals in the field of humanities; and social sciences as well as STEM areas.

A "very high" research activity classification places UAHuntsville in the top 3 percent of the almost 2,000, four-year accredited degree-granting colleges and universities in the United States. Only two Alabama universities are in this classification - UAB and UAHuntsville.

"The Carnegie ranking is extremely significant, and we are very proud to have achieved this level of research, especially when one compares the size of UAHuntsville to the other universities in our group," said Dr. John Horack, UAHuntsville's Vice President for Research. "And while it is an important milestone, it is not the objective. The goal is to bring UAHuntsville to the status of an exceptional research university. This ranking is an important external validation that our research faculty are doing the right things, moving UAHuntsville forward, and serving our students, our city, our region, and the people of Alabama."

The ranking is noteworthy in that it recognizes the high level of cutting-edge research being conducted by our faculty and researchers as well as the quality of our doctoral students, and will bring additional acclaim to the campus and could provide momentum in recruiting higher quality students and faculty, according to Provost Vistasp Karbhari.

He notes that recognition from the Carnegie ranking could assist the university by:


  • Attracting higher ranked students to our undergraduate and graduate programs
  • Bringing recognition to innovative and leading academic programs directed by our faculty that merge cutting edge research with leading edge classes, thus keeping our students at the forefront of science, technology, innovation and creative activity.
  • Assisting further in providing recognition for and enhancing our faculty's reputation, which will assist them in being even more competitive for national level grants/contracts and awards
  • Providing external recognition of our faculty's excellence and reinforcing that we are on the right track in enhancing our reputation and ability to join the top ranked universities in the nation.

UAHuntsville excels in numerous research areas that include: Earth system science and climate research, severe weather research, computer science and information technology, information assurance and security, astrophysics and space plasma physics, aerospace and systems engineering, electrical and computer engineering, optics, modeling and simulation, business, logistics and supply chain management, biotechnology and nursing. Major research funding at UAHuntsville comes from NASA, the Department of Defense, NOAA, the National Science Foundation, the state of Alabama, among others.

The Carnegie Classification was created to assist those conducting research on higher education, and provide a way for colleges and universities to be compared to institutions of similar qualities. The full database of universities and their Carnegie Classification can be found at

For more information,

contact Ray Garner