By Adam Hartmann

Arizona Daily Wildcat

The UA now has a neighbor in its exclusive Research I neighborhood, but experts say there is plenty of elbow room for both.

Arizona State University was officially recognized as a Research I university Monday by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Charles Geoffrion, University of Arizona associate research vice president, said a Research I university must meet four requirements. It must offer a full range of academic programs, offer 50 or more doctorate degrees, have a strong research focus and receive at least $45 million annually in federal research grants.

"My sense is that the university has been operating like a Research I university in terms of our goals and aspirations for a number of years," said Joseph Henry, an ASU chemical engineering professor.

Henry said ASU's increase in grant money and subsequent rise to Research I status is impressive because a large number of research grants are in medicine and ASU does not have a medical school.

"It's difficult to break into that status without a medical school," Henry said. "We've had to work very hard to get where we are."

"I think it's great news," Geoffrion said. "It's good for them and it's really indicative of their faculty."

But Geoffrion said ASU's new title will not affect the UA's research activities.

He said that ASU is still behind the UA in research standing, which is determined by the amount of money spent on research activities.

The UA was 19th in National Science Foundation research standings last year, with research expenditures totaling $221 million, Geoffrion said. ASU was ranked 90th, spending $69 million on research.

"We're still in different leagues," Geoffrion said. "If we were both in the $300-million range, I might think that (it would be a problem.)"

Michael Wells, UA Biochemistry Department head, said ASU's research strength is in engineering, while the UA's strength lies in planetary and optical sciences.

"To a large extent, we don't compete for the same funds," Wells said, adding that ASU's new title only means that it has increased its incoming grant money.

"To just give them the title of Research I doesn't change anything," he said.

Gary Argue, director of ASU's Technology Transfer and Industry Liaison Office, also said the Research I designation is merely a name and does not reflect a school's quality.

"It's sort of a status symbol here," Argue said. "Everyone's aware of it and now ASU's in that club."

He said ASU has always competed with the UA in research activities and a new title would not affect the balance of power.

"I don't think that (competition) should change," he said. "I just don't think it will have any effect at all."

And Henry said the title would not enhance ASU's ability to attract grant money.

Geoffrion said he thought competition would benefit both schools by forcing each to be more aggressive in its research activities.

"This is healthy," Geoffrion said. "We're both growing. There's enough money out there that we can both grow for the next 10 years." Read Next Article