Research 2020Forward Phase I Results

On this page is the draft vision, implementation strategies and metrics from the 2020Forward Phase I research committee. This is the first step in Clemson’s update of its current strategic plan, the 2020 Road Map. A critical part of the development of this update is feedback from the university community. Please review this information, and then provide your thoughts using one of the options listed at the bottom of this page. Your feedback is important and will be considered before any plans are finalized.


“Discovery and Innovation through World-Class Research” Clemson will:
  • Embrace all forms of discovery and scholarship that lead to knowledge generation and creative work.
  • Make meaningful contributions to solving some of the 21st century’s most important societal grand challenges through innovation and creativity.
  • Focus on problems with local and global impact, honoring our land grant mission.
  • Build and nurture a university-wide diverse community of scholars engaged in research.
  • Foster collaborations at multiple levels: interdisciplinary, multi-institutional, and international.

Implementation Strategies

  1. Build and nurture a culture of research to permeate the entire university including support systems on campus.
  2. Sustain and enhance a comprehensive portfolio of original scholarship, applied and basic research, and creative work that will help Clemson advance a culture of dynamic research and scholarship.
  3. Identify areas of research for strategic investments: Leverage current and potential areas of strength, continually evaluate “Return-on-Investment” of the research portfolio, and respond to emerging research trends.
  4. Remove barriers (administrative structure, policies and procedures, and resources) to interdisciplinary collaborations.
  5. Encourage and reward research outcomes that are the “gold standard of excellence” in any given discipline.
  6. Increase university-funded research, prioritizing early stage, and high-risk, high-reward ideas.
  7. Establish a culture of diversity and inclusion at all levels to increase innovation and support research excellence.
  8. Proactively implement strategies to recruit and retain top faculty while mentoring junior faculty for success in their research careers.


  • Top U.S. public research universities (Carnegie Classification RU/VH) routinely excel in the following nine metrics. Clemson aspires to be in the top-50 ranking in at least five out of the nine metrics listed below:
    1. Total Research,
    2. Federal Research,
    3. Endowment Assets,
    4. Annual Giving,
    5. National Academy Members,
    6. Faculty Awards,
    7. Doctorates Granted,
    8. Number of Postdoctoral Appointees, and
    9. SAT scores.
  • At the unit and individual level track performance through the following metrics:
    1. Total number of publications
    2. Total number of citations
    3. Percent of publications published in top outlets (e.g.: based on journal impact factors by discipline)*
    4. Percent of citations received from publications in top outlets (e.g.: based on journal impact factors by discipline)*
    5. Four year h-index*
    6. Research funding
*Where appropriate metrics differ, develop and track analogous metrics that measure the “gold standard” of excellence in the relevant discipline.