North­eastern Uni­ver­sity has moved into the top tier for research activity among higher edu­ca­tion insti­tu­tions, according to a leading clas­si­fi­ca­tion used to dis­tin­guish U.S. col­leges and universities.

The Carnegie Clas­si­fi­ca­tion of Insti­tu­tions of Higher Edu­ca­tion on Tuesday released its 2015 clas­si­fi­ca­tion, which includes 4,664 insti­tu­tions nation­wide. North­eastern is now one of only 115 uni­ver­si­ties in the “highest research activity” cat­e­gory, and was one of only 15 uni­ver­si­ties to move into that cat­e­gory since the pre­vious ranking in 2010.

The clas­si­fi­ca­tion sig­nals the impact of the university’s strategic vision and invest­ments over the past 10 years that have ele­vated North­eastern into a pow­er­house on par with the nation’s elite research col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties. It builds upon Northeastern’s unprece­dented momentum, which includes con­tinued invest­ments in research and fac­ulty recruit­ment, record-​​high stu­dent appli­ca­tions, and its his­toric fundraising cam­paign. With the updated clas­si­fi­ca­tion, Boston now has a higher con­cen­tra­tion of uni­ver­si­ties in the top tier for research than any other met­ro­pol­itan area in the nation.

Under Pres­i­dent Aoun’s lead­er­ship, the uni­ver­sity has bol­stered its com­mit­ment to use-​​inspired, cross-​​disciplinary research that addresses global chal­lenges. In 2014–15, North­eastern secured $127.5 mil­lion in external research funding—compared to $48.7 mil­lion in 2005-​​06, and since 2006 the uni­ver­sity has received 168 awards of at least $1 mil­lion. The forth­coming Inter­dis­ci­pli­nary Sci­ence and Engi­neering Com­plex will mark a trans­for­ma­tive moment for Northeastern’s research enterprise.

Over the past three years North­eastern has also con­ferred doc­tor­ates to 468 stu­dents, and since 2006 has hired more than 500 tenured or tenure-​​track fac­ulty, many of whom hold joint appoint­ments across colleges.

North­eastern, in recent years, has opened an inno­va­tion campus in Burlington, Mass­a­chu­setts, anchored by the George J. Kostas Research Insti­tute for Home­land Secu­rity; launched advanced new degree pro­grams, including the nation’s first doc­toral pro­gram in net­work sci­ence; was des­ig­nated a Center of Aca­d­emic Excel­lence in Cyber Oper­a­tions by the National Secu­rity Agency; secured a $20 mil­lion agree­ment with the U.S. Army to con­duct crit­ical defense research; and was recently selected by NASA to partner on humanoid robot research. And a research team led by biology pro­fes­sors Kim Lewis and Slava Epstein dis­cov­ered a new antibi­otic that kills pathogens without resis­tance, research that cap­tured head­lines world­wide and drew praise from the sci­en­tific community.

Last week, Moody’s also revised the university’s A2 bond rating to a “pos­i­tive” out­look, putting Northeastern—a global leader in expe­ri­en­tial edu­ca­tion, with its sig­na­ture co-​​op program—among just 15 of 499 higher edu­ca­tion insti­tu­tions des­ig­nated with a pos­i­tive outlook.

The Carnegie Com­mis­sion on Higher Edu­ca­tion devel­oped the clas­si­fi­ca­tion in 1970, and the clas­si­fi­ca­tion has been pub­lished eight times between 1973 and now. In fall 2014, the Carnegie Foun­da­tion for the Advance­ment of Teaching trans­ferred respon­si­bility for the clas­si­fi­ca­tion to Indiana Uni­ver­sity Bloomington’s Center for Post­sec­ondary Research, though the clas­si­fi­ca­tion retained the Carnegie name.

Although intended for research and policy pur­poses, the Carnegie Clas­si­fi­ca­tion of Insti­tu­tions of Higher Edu­ca­tion has become an inte­gral part of the fabric of higher edu­ca­tion, as it is used by a variety of orga­ni­za­tions for shaping account­ability and oppor­tu­nity,” Victor H.M. Borden, pro­fessor of higher edu­ca­tion and stu­dent affairs at the IU School of Edu­ca­tion and the director of the project for the Center for Post­sec­ondary Research, said in a state­ment. Borden led the team that pro­duced the updated classifications.

Northeastern’s Carnegie Clas­si­fi­ca­tion is cat­e­go­rized under “Doc­toral Insti­tu­tions,” a des­ig­na­tion for insti­tu­tions that awarded at least 20 research or schol­ar­ship doc­tor­ates in the 2014–15 aca­d­emic year. Insti­tu­tions that meet this cri­te­rion are assigned into one of three cat­e­gories based on a mea­sure of research activity, which fac­tors in uni­ver­si­ties’ research and devel­op­ment expen­di­tures, sci­ence and engi­neering research staff, and the number of doc­toral degrees they confer across sev­eral fields of study. These data are then used to create indices for both the aggre­gate level of research activity and the per-​​capita research activity.