Clemson Division of Research

Feb. 2019: A Big Win for Clemson Research

Tanju Karanfil
Tanju Karanfil

Hours after winning his second national championship in three years, Coach Dabo Swinney said he couldn’t wait for his first team meeting as the Tigers prepare for next season.

His desire for continued greatness inspires me, and I hope it inspires you too. Like Coach Swinney, I am excited for the future and I am ready to work.

In December, we received the exciting news that our status as a Carnegie R1 institution has been confirmed for three more years through 2021. This is a significant achievement and a key goal of our ClemsonForward strategic plan. For our research enterprise, this is our national championship. Carnegie R1 classifies Clemson as one of the nation’s most active research institutions. It helps us recruit the best and brightest faculty members and students and puts us in a great position to compete for high-value research projects.

For “little old Clemson,” to borrow a phrase from Coach Swinney, achieving this status once seemed like an insurmountable mountain. But we continue to improve in the metrics Carnegie collects to classify universities.  As you know, Clemson first achieved R1 classification in 2016. Our reconfirmation in December came amid unexpected and uncertain changes to Carnegie’s data collection cycle and methodology, a testament to the strength and positive trajectory of our research enterprise over the past few years. Now, we must continue to work.

To help continue this momentum, we have taken several steps to help you advance your research portfolio. We are again funding competitive grants through our R-Initiative programs. We have already invested $3 million the past two years and these funds are helping faculty members hire research faculty, acquire equipment, pursue external funding and launch or complete scholarly projects (Read more). We are investing in unique, highly advanced equipment at our core research facilities (Read more).

Faculty members from each college attended the 2018 Research Symposium to listen to presentations and share research ideas.
Faculty members from each college attended the 2018 Research Symposium to listen to presentations and share research ideas.

We have several ideas in the works, including the potential for new R-Initiative programs and an industry Research Symposium next fall to help you market your work to the private sector. On May 8, we will have our annual Research Symposium at the Watt Family Innovation Center. Please mark your calendars and plan to attend. This is a wonderful opportunity to meet your colleagues and begin new collaborations. The organizing committee is currently accepting ideas. You can suggest a topic by emailing planning committee chairman Brian Powell at

As always, I welcome your ideas on programs that could help your research. Email vpr@clemson.eduto provide input.

This is an exciting time to be a Clemson Tiger. The future is bright.

Go Tigers!