- Associated Press - Saturday, December 22, 2018

LAS VEGAS (AP) - The University of Nevada Las Vegas on Wednesday joined the list of top research schools in the country, becoming the first institution of higher education in the state to achieve that status.

The university was among the 120 institutions that this year received the “very high research activity” designation from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, a framework that ranks colleges and universities in the U.S. The school earned a spot in that category following increases in its research expenditures and number of research doctoral degrees awarded.

“This designation will elevate our efforts to further support our outstanding faculty and students, recruit new members to our university, and power even more research, economic development, and creative activities,” UNLV acting president Marta Meana said in a statement.

UNLV had previously set a goal of achieving the designation by 2025.

The category in which UNLV was placed includes other doctoral universities that had at least $5 million in research expenditures as reported through the National Science Foundation. Harvard University, Yale University and Stanford University are in that category.

University officials reported an increase in research expenditures from $42 million in fiscal year 2015 to $66 million in 2017. At the same time, the school awarded more research doctoral degrees, reporting 162 in the 2017-2018 cycle, up from 124 in 2013-2014.

The Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce expects the designation to benefit the entire state.

“(It) will help drive economic development, particularly for high-tech companies that seek a top-level university research partner,” Mary Beth Sewald, president and CEO of the chamber, said. “This is great news for the business community and job creation.”

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