Kean named New Jersey’s first urban research university

Kean University was designated as the state’s first urban research university, according to a bill signed by Gov. Phil Murphy last week.

The new status recognizes the Union-based university’s growing role in conducting research and generating solutions to issues in urban communities statewide. Kean joins Rutgers University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Rowan University and Montclair State University as a state-designated public research university.

“This designation is a transformative development for Kean and positions the university as a statewide leader in research and policy for our underserved cities and urban communities. It will change the course of this institution and provide new opportunities for the students we serve,” Kean President Lamont Repollet said. “As the state’s only urban research university, we can also make a real difference in the lives of New Jerseyans living in urban communities as we help urban centers build stronger futures.”

The university opened an Urban Policy and Research Institute in the spring, which researches issues affecting the state’s urban centers and develops solutions to address them.

The university said highly competitive federal research grants have more than tripled at Kean since 2017. The new status will make it eligible for even more research funding.

This designation will elevate Kean’s profile across the nation, enhance faculty and student recruitment, increase student Tuition Aid Grant awards and boost competitiveness for research grants.

Kean is also actively pursuing a R2 designation by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

Kean was also recently named one of 25 colleges and universities nationwide selected for a U.S. Economic Development Administration University Center grant to promote innovation and strengthen regional economies.

Repollet said the urban research designation and the EDA grant will both help Kean continue the important work of conducting research on issues that impact the state’s urban centers.

“We take responsibility for not just identifying the challenges in our cities, but finding the solutions that are replicable, scalable and sustainable to move us forward,” Repollet said. “We look forward to bringing our faculty and students into this research so they can contribute directly to learning projects that will impact their own communities.”