The Association of American Universities (AAU) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that comprises 62 leading public and private research universities in the United States and Canada. Founded in 1900 to advance the international standing of U.S. research universities, AAU today focuses on issues that are important to research-intensive universities, such as funding for research, research policy issues, and graduate and undergraduate education.
AAU member universities are on the leading edge of innovation, scholarship, and solutions that contribute to the nation's economy, security, and well-being. The 60 AAU universities in the United States award nearly one-half of all U.S. doctoral degrees and 55 percent of those in the sciences and engineering.
AAU programs and projects address institutional issues facing its member universities, as well as government actions that affect these and other universities.
AAU works to maintain the productive partnership between the nation’s research universities and the federal government. The major activities of the association include federal government relations, policy studies, and public affairs.
Membership in AAU is by invitation and is based on the high quality of programs of academic research and scholarship and undergraduate, graduate, and professional education in a number of fields, as well as general recognition that a university is outstanding by reason of the excellence of its research and education programs.
A membership committee of AAU presidents and chancellors periodically reviews universities for AAU membership; institutions recommended for membership must be approved by a three-fourths vote of the membership.
Additional information about AAU membership is available here.