At the beginning of 2023, Virginia Tech President Tim Sands established two aspirations for the university: becoming a top 100 global research university and making Virginia Tech accessible and affordable for students. The latter is known as the Virginia Tech Advantage.

The top 100 global effort has been named Virginia Tech Global Distinction, reflecting a commitment to institutional excellence across research, teaching, and engagement that makes the university a destination for the best faculty, students, and partners from the commonwealth, the nation, and the world.

“We engage world-class talent to pursue solutions to the most complex challenges facing our communities at home and abroad,” Sands said. “Our interdisciplinary approach, with deep and diverse partnerships, is rooted in our commitment to our motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve).

“Virginia Tech Global Distinction prioritizes elevating university research and impact through our engagement with partners from higher education, industry, and government, staying true to the university’s collaborative culture and land-grant mission to strengthen the economies of our communities and the commonwealth,” Sands said. 

Achieving this priority will be reflected in global and national rankings and metrics that serve as proxy for excellence in delivering on the land-grant mission and are a framework for measuring success for research universities. In the 2024 Times Higher Education World University Rankings released earlier this fall, Virginia Tech placed among the top 20 U.S. public Carnegie Class - Very High Research, land-grant universities.

“We want to advance Virginia Tech’s international standing further,” said Executive Vice President and Provost Cyril Clarke. “To achieve that, we intend to enhance the impact of scholarship; extramural funding; faculty awards, fellowships and memberships; doctoral education and postdoctoral associate training; and undergraduate student success outcomes.”

In addition, the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals are included as part of the framework that call for all countries to address complex, global problems covering aspects of sustainability such as health and well-being, equality, clean water, and climate change. Virginia Tech ranked No. 92 in the world in the latest Times Higher Education Impact Rankings.

“Every day I am impressed with the caliber of our researchers, faculty, staff, and students, who are relentlessly working to improve the human condition,” said Senior Vice President of Research and Innovation Dan Sui. “We are working together across traditional discipline boundaries to innovate and develop ways to address these complex problems, which also aligns closely with our land-grant mission.”

The following are a few ways faculty, staff, and students are distinguishing themselves through research, teaching, and outreach:


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