Basic research is largely concentrated in this nation’s research universities. However, as recent reports imply, there is a need to broaden the base of universities that can undertake such research so that the United States can remain a leader in the global economy (Hauger and McEnaney, 2000). Most colleges and universities are not classified as research universities and conduct little ongoing sponsored basic research. Originally, the intent of the September 2007 workshop, “Partnerships for Emerging Research Institutions” (ERIs), was to examine access to research at institutions receiving less than $15 million a year in federally sponsored research.2 As the committee planned the workshop, however, it became evident that the issues and solutions were far more generic and applied to all but the research universities. For the purposes of this report, therefore, ERIs include all master’s colleges and universities, baccalaureate colleges, and tribal colleges according to the 2005 Carnegie Classification system (see Appendix D).

The questions addressed in the workshop were:

  1. What does the presence or absence of basic research signify for student achievement?

  2. What obstacles currently preclude access to research for ERIs?

  3. What approaches can be used to overcome these obstacles?

The workshop did not focus on the lack of research equipment or research funding as obstacles. The inability to compete for resources instead was regarded as a symptom of more fundamental structural deficiencies. Two categories of barriers were discussed in depth at the workshop: (1) a severe lack of time for teaching-intensive faculty to conduct research, and (2) insufficient administrative infrastructure to support even the modest daily routines required by a research enterprise.


Emerging Research Institutions (master’s colleges and universities, baccalaureate colleges, and tribal colleges) constitute one-third (1,463) of the 4,392 institutions of higher education that are listed in the 2005 Carnegie Classification system (see Appendix D), and they enroll over 30 percent of the U.S. post-secondary student population (see Figure 1). In


The Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP) defines Emerging Research Institutions as institutions whose federal obligations are less than $20 million annually for research and development and are funded by at least two FDP federal agencies. Institutions whose annual federally supported expenditures are less than $15 million may participate in FDP activities.

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