New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) has reaffirmed its status among the nation’s most elite and productive research institutions by once again achieving an R1 status — the highest designation — by the Carnegie Classification.
First published in 1973, the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education is the primary measure used by rating organizations and governmental agencies to describe colleges and universities. Institutions that grant doctoral degrees are divided into three tiers that represent their level of research activity in terms of research and development expenditures and doctorates awarded, with the coveted R1 indicating “very high research activity.”
NJIT’s continuing status as an R1 institution demonstrates the university’s sustained growth of research and innovation. NJIT’s ability to secure major research grants will continue to foster transformative discoveries in areas ranging from healthcare and medicine to sustainable technologies and data analytics. NJIT is one of only 146 universities nationwide to earn the R1 ranking and one of just three R1 universities in New Jersey.
“NJIT is very proud to have again earned this designation, affirming the strength and capacity of our research programs,” commented NJIT Provost and Senior Executive Vice President Fadi P. Deek. “NJIT’s commitment to high-impact applied research is a cornerstone of our strategic plan. Our efforts in this area have yielded major research grants for our faculty and success for our doctoral programs.”
NJIT’s rise as a research university has been swift and profound. In 1979, the university’s research expenditures totaled $375,000; in 2021, it surpassed $165 million. Since 2010, total R&D expenditures have increased by 70%.
NJIT’s strategic plan, Building on a Strong Foundation — NJIT 2025, names research as one of the university’s five critical priorities and positions it as a driver of other strategic priorities. NJIT’s key objectives in research include promoting collaborative research, fostering innovation and entrepreneurship, and promoting research partnerships with the goal of becoming nationally and internationally recognized for high-impact research.
The university supports research in numerous ways, and takes seriously its role in nurturing talent on campus. Since 2010, NJIT has hired 156 new faculty members across STEM and other disciplines, and has increased its tenured and tenure-track faculty to over 320, 50% of whom were hired in the last ten years. These faculty have been instrumental in driving NJIT's academic excellence by teaching in new modalities and implementing innovative teaching techniques. They have also developed exciting new courses and programs including Financial Technology, Data Science, and Cyberpsychology.
Since 2017, 14 young researchers have won CAREER awards from the National Science Foundation, described by the agency as among its most prestigious awards. The work of these faculty ranges from solving problems that rely on large-scale mathematical optimization, to the development of novel soft solid materials such as smart gels used as sealants and valve controls, to the creation of new methods to design lenses and mirrors to precisely control the intensity pattern and phase of light beams in applications such as optical data storage and astronomy.
Supporting the prodigious growth in research, NJIT is now home to 140 labs, centers and research institutes with the strategic plan guiding the university to play a leading role in five emerging areas of multidisciplinary research – Bioscience and Bioengineering, Data Science and Management, the Environment and Sustainability, Material Science and Engineering, and Robotics and Machine Intelligence. NJIT also offers students the opportunity to conduct research even as undergraduates, and many spend significant time working closely with faculty in these hubs.
The transformation of research facilities has been part of a larger, ongoing $500 million capital-building program transforming the entire campus. The gut-level renovation of the five-story Central King Building and construction of the 24,500 sq. ft. Life Sciences and Engineering Building are bringing students and faculty new teaching and research labs, rooms to conduct projects, and common areas where they can socialize and share ideas. A $3.7 million renovation of the Microfabrication Innovation Center now houses advanced equipment and a cleanroom environment for the fabrication of micro- and nanoelectronic and microfluidic devices and sensors. The Makerspace at NJIT, a 21,000-square-foot training-focused, rapid prototyping facility, provides the university’s education and research community with the latest design and fabrication equipment.
NJIT President Joel S. Bloom noted, “Maintaining the R1 designation is a major achievement for NJIT and is the direct result of our faculty, researchers and staff, as well as the investments we have made to support their research.”