Research: New classification is huge boost for WVU

For years, U.S. Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., has suggested the Mountain State’s universities should be receiving a larger share of the research dollars available from the federal government. News this week out of West Virginia University might prove a step in that direction.

WVU has been classified as “R1,” or a “very high research” university, by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.

According to Fred King, WVU vice president of research, such a classification enhances the school’s reputation — meaning it might attract and retain even higher quality faculty and students, but also more private foundation opportunities and investment.

Last year, WVU pulled in $117 million in outside research dollars. That is an enormous sum of money, but just a drop in the bucket compared to what some higher-profile institutions are handed. Surely both university officials and folks like McKinley are looking for opportunities to bring up the new R1 designation in conversations about increasing WVU’s share.

There is incredible work being done in Morgantown — work that could change medical, environmental and industrial science, just to name a few. In fact, for more than 150 years, students from West Virginia and all over the country and world have found out the flagship institution of higher learning for the state is less about burning couches and more about igniting students’ and researchers’ potential.

It is good to know the Carnegie Commission recognizes that, too.