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Boston University has joined the Association of American Universities (AAU), an elite organization of 61 leading research universities in the United States and Canada. BU, one of only 4 universities invited to join the group since 2000, became the 62nd member. In the Boston area, only Harvard, MIT, and Brandeis are also members.

Hunter R. Rawlings III, president of the AAU, announced in November that President Robert A. Brown had accepted the association’s invitation. Rawlings says the decision to extend the invitation was based on an in-depth review of the University’s research and academic programs.

“Boston University is an outstanding institution,” says Rawlings. “It belongs in the AAU by virtue of the strength of its research and academic programs. AAU universities play an essential role in America’s research enterprise and in educating the nation’s young scientists, engineers, and scholars. Boston University is a welcome addition to the ranks of these leading research universities.”

Brown says he is very pleased to have the University join the AAU. “It’s gratifying for Boston University to receive this recognition for the quality of our education and research programs,” he says. “We look forward to participating with the AAU membership in helping guide the future of research universities in the United States as a critical resource for American leadership in higher education, knowledge creation, and innovation.”

In fiscal year 2012, the University received $348.4 million in research awards, one of several criteria considered by the AAU.

Membership in the organization is by invitation only and is based on several criteria: the quality of programs of academic research and scholarship; undergraduate, graduate, and professional education in a number of fields; and general recognition that a university is outstanding by reason of the excellence of its research and education programs. A membership committee of AAU presidents and chancellors periodically reviews universities for membership in the association; institutions recommended for membership must be approved by a three-fourths vote of the member institutions.

Since his arrival at BU in 2005, Brown has made research a priority, recruiting and developing faculty in the sciences, engineering, social sciences, and humanities. In fiscal year 2012, BU received $348.4 million in research awards, one of several criteria considered in the AAU admissions process.

“Joining the AAU is a recognition of the national prominence of our faculty and our research,” he says. “A major impact is that this allows us to participate in all kinds of endeavors with like-minded institutions. It gives us a seat at the table, and that will help this institution enormously.”