A research university is a
university that expects all its
tenured and tenure-track
faculty to continuously engage in
research, as opposed to merely requiring it as a condition of an initial appointment or tenure.
 Such universities can be recognized by their strong focus on innovative research and the prestige of their brand names.
 On the one hand, research universities strive to recruit faculty who are the most brilliant minds in their
disciplines in the world, and their students enjoy the opportunity to learn from such experts.
 On the other hand, new students are often disappointed to realize their undergraduate courses at research universities are overly academic and fail to provide
vocational training with immediate "real world" applications; but many employers value degrees from research universities because they know that such coursework develops fundamental skills like
Higher education institutions which are not research universities (or do not aspire to that designation) instead place more emphasis on teaching or other aspects of
tertiary education, and their faculties are under less pressure to
publish or perish.
The concept of the modern research university first arose in 19th century
Germany and developed into its most advanced and successful form in the
United States, centered on three foundational principles: "integration of teaching and research, academic freedom," and a conception of the nature of research as open-ended and unending.
 From the late 20th century to the present, U.S. research universities have dominated most international
college and university rankings.
Roger L. Geiger, a historian specializing in the
history of higher education in the United States, has argued that "the model for the American research university was established by five
colonial colleges chartered before the
American Revolution (
Columbia); five state universities (
California); and five private institutions conceived from their inception as research universities (