NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Old Dominion University is celebrating a major milestone.

The university was recently among nine new universities to be designated a Carnegie Research 1 school, a prestigious classification that puts ODU in the top-tier of research universities in the country. ODU was previously a “R2,” a doctoral university that has high research levels, though not as much as R1. Other R2 universities in Virginia are William & Mary and James Madison University, which just moved to R2 this year.

The key difference between R1 and R2 is the overall level of research being conducted, including the amount of people conducting it. R1 will help ODU in securing research funding and in attracting students and faculty.

Just under 150 universities nationwide are classified as “R1.” Others in Virginia are the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, George Mason University and Virginia Commonwealth University.

“This is a significant milestone for our campus community and a historic moment in our research efforts,” said President Brian O. Hemphill in a press release. “ODU is truly honored to join the elite ranks of the nation’s top-producing research institutions, which comprise less than 5% of all institutions. Our faculty are so deserving of this prestigious honor and the limitless opportunities and well-deserved recognition that come with it!”

ODU was joined by Louisiana, Denver, Utah State, University of Texas at San Antonio, North Dakota State, Memphis, Kent State and Baylor in moving to R1 designation.

“This accomplishment represents the collective efforts of our faculty, scientists, students and staff to further ODU’s mission as a leading public doctoral research institution,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Austin Agho. “Being named a Research 1 institution signals ODU is well-positioned to support research faculty, provide robust opportunities to undergraduates and graduate students, and work with partners to find innovative answers to complex and challenging questions.”

ODU officials pointed to their research strengths in coastal resilience, modeling and simulation, and other maritime-related issues, as well as cybersecurity.

The new classification becomes official at the end of January following a review and comment period.

Read more about the news here.