By Eli Hughes– 

 The University of Louisville received the Carnegie Associations designation of highest-level research institution for the fourth consecutive year.

Director of Research Initiatives Robert Keynton said this designation was earned as a direct result of the Bucks for Brains program. The program matches private donations with state funds to provide research opportunities and is also known as The Research Challenge Trust Fund.

“The state gave the two premier research institutions in the state, University of Kentucky and U of L, funds that they would need to match through philanthropic gifts in order to invest to raise the research profile of the university,” said Keynton.

This designation is impactful to the university because it draws in professors looking for a place to teach and work on their research.

It also encourages alumni to donate more money to the university that can be used to fund research. “When alumni get to see all the great research and science that’s going on within the university, they are often more interested in supporting those kinds of initiatives,” said Keynton.

There are a couple research initiatives in progress at U of L that benefit from the publicity and funds the university receives from the Carnegie designation.

Keynton gave a few examples of the research being conducted on campus. Dr. Susan Harkema, director of Frazier Research Institute, focuses on individuals paralyzed by a spinal cord injury and figuring out how to help them walk again. Dan Popa, the Vogt-endowed chair on advanced manufacturing in the department of electrical and computer engineering at U of L and criminal justice department is conducting cyber security research.

Those projects and many others being conducted on campus have the potential for a great impact.

Keynton said there is another advantage of being categorized as a very high research university. “You get more federal dollars, and through those programs, they like it where you end up training both graduate and undergraduate students, and so it provides a lot of opportunities for the undergraduate students to explore research as a potential field as well as just to gain knowledge and experience that will help you in your job down the road, ” he said.

This designation includes 120 universities across America. According to the Carnegie Classification’s criteria, to be eligible for this list a university must award about 20 doctoral degrees and had invested about $5 million in research.U of L has met the criteria every time the list has been released since 2005.