06/22/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Georgia Tech Joins AAU: College First To Be Invited In A Decade

Georgia Tech has accepted its invitation to the prestigious Association of American Universities, becoming its 63rd member and its first new addition in almost a decade.

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, Georgia Tech lobbied the association for an invitation, stressing its contributions to scientific research, and the group eventually took notice after the school garnered a significant amount of research money:

The AAU extended the invitation after studying Georgia Tech for several years, said the association's president, Robert M. Berdahl. "Georgia Tech has clearly emerged as a very, very strong research and graduate institution," Mr. Berdahl said. Before Georgia Tech, the two most recent admissions were the State University of New York at Stony Brook and Texas A&M University, both in 2001.

AAU affiliation has become a standard thumbnail definition of the prominence of a research institution. The eligibility criteria include objective factors such as the amount of federal grants and the number of faculty awards and research citations. Georgia Tech pulled in $281.2-million in federal research money in 2008, the most recent year for which figures are available, according to the National Science Foundation. That was the second-largest total of any comprehensive American academic institution that was not an AAU member.

The association was founded in 1900 to promote U.S. research universities to the world, and concentrates on issues related to research-intensive universities.