Interdisciplinary Laboratories, Centers, and Institutes
The interdisciplinary laboratories, centers, and institutes provide significant support for interdisciplinary research at Stanford. They involve hundreds of faculty members, administrative, research, technical staff, and students at all levels. These units play a critical role in the Stanford mission of creating and sharing knowledge.
Interdisciplinary research centers draw on the strengths of schools and departments across the University. The interdisciplinary research centers are managed by the Vice Provost and Dean of Research, Dr. Ann Arvin.
Exploring Fundamental Science
Bringing scientists and engineers together in unique centers, Stanford has advanced the understanding of our universe. Through innovative applications of technology to science, we can examine space and time, light, and material.
Protecting Our Environment
Protecting our planet requires an integrated focus on land, water, air, and energy. Solutions will require the combined efforts of scientists and engineers along with researchers in business and law.
Understanding the Human Condition
Problem-solving in the 21st century will take depth of knowledge and breadth of skill across the range of political, economic, technical, scientific, and legal studies.
- Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford (FSI)
- Center for the Study of Language and Information (CSLI)
- Stanford Center on Longevity (SCL)
- Stanford Humanities Center
- Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR)
- Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences
Improving Human Health
Stanford has organized interdisciplinary approaches to increasingly complex problems dealing with the medical and biological sciences. Stanford’s Bio-X program, for example, joins engineers, chemists, computer scientists, and physicists with our medical researchers to find solutions.
- Bio-X, the interdisciplinary program related to bioengineering, biosciences, and biomedicine
- Spectrum (formerly the Stanford Center for Clinical and Translational Education and Research)
- Stanford Institute for Chemical Biology serves to strengthen the chemical foundations of biomedical science and to accelerate molecular discoveries that transform human health.
- Stanford Neurosciences Institutes
The following Stanford research facilities report administratively to the Vice Provost and Dean of Research:
- Stanford University Mass Spectrometry Center
- Cognitive and Neurobiological Imaging Center
- Stanford Nano Shared Facilities
View all shared resources at Stanford.
External Resources to Assist You in Interdisciplinary Research
This site is a guide to the different mechanisms through which NSF promotes and supports interdisciplinary research. They provide information on whom to contact for assistance in deciding where and how to submit an interdisciplinary proposal. A primary purpose of this site is to assist investigators in submitting an unsolicited interdisciplinary proposal for which there may not be a natural "home" in one of the existing NSF programs.
The intent of NIH Common Fund programs is to provide a strategic and nimble approach to address key roadblocks in biomedical research that impede basic scientific discovery and its translation into improved human health. In addition, these programs capitalize on emerging opportunities to catalyze the rate of progress across multiple biomedical fields.
The Common Fund’s Interdisciplinary Research (IR) program goal is to change academic research culture such that interdisciplinary approaches and team science spanning various biomedical and behavioral specialties are encouraged and rewarded. The program includes the following components:
Interdisciplinary Training Programs
Innovation in Interdisciplinary Technology and Methods
Multiple Principal Investigator (Multi-PI) Policy
Published in 2010 by the NIH. The Field Guide was developed to help all researchers navigate some of the rocky and murky territory associated with building a team either on their own or at the request of someone in their organization.
Published June 29, 2012: Jacqueline Resnick (bio) explains the difference between two approaches to research.
Published January 9, 2008: Megan R. Gunnar (bio) encourages young researchers to nurture an independent identity while working collaboratively.
Published 2004, National Academy of Science: Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research examines current interdisciplinary research efforts and recommends ways to stimulate and support such research.
Advances in science and engineering increasingly require the collaboration of scholars from various fields. This shift is driven by the need to address complex problems that cut across traditional disciplines, and the capacity of new technologies to both transform existing disciplines and generate new ones. At the same time, however, interdisciplinary research can be impeded by policies on hiring, promotion, tenure, proposal review, and resource allocation that favor traditional disciplines.
This report identifies steps that researchers, teachers, students, institutions, funding organizations, and disciplinary societies can take to more effectively conduct, facilitate, and evaluate interdisciplinary research programs and projects. Throughout the report key concepts are illustrated with case studies and results of the committee s surveys of individual researchers and university provosts.