Virginia Tech research institutes are enhancing faculty members’ abilities to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges through collaborative academic research and scholarship.

The seven institutes provide environments where groups of diverse world-class experts can not only come together, but do so with access to specialized equipment, advanced laboratories and research spaces, funding, proposal development, and other core services and resources. Under the leadership of the Office of Research and Innovation, each of the institutes is open to university faculty and students, and partners.

All seven institutes’ work and opportunities for engagement will be on display prior to and following the State of the University Address on Feb. 7 at the Moss Arts Center. In a joint effort, the institutes have created a virtual showcase that will be on display in the Cube at the Moss Arts Center and may have additional information available in the lobby.

Investment institutes

Virginia Tech’s investment institutes focus on enabling researchers across the university to build cross-disciplinary research programs. Each investment institute provides support that could include funds for recruitment, retention, and recognition of faculty; seed funds for new research projects; proposal development support, editing, and mentorship; access to specialized research equipment and core facilities; graduate and undergraduate experiential learning opportunities; and research-related outreach activities. Programs and faculty receiving investment institute support are aligned with and in close partnership with associated academic units.

  • The Fralin Life Sciences Institute is led by Executive Director Robin McCarley. Its mission is to enhance the human condition by catalyzing innovative environmental and life sciences research, education, and engagement.

  • The Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology was founded by Executive Director Ben Knapp. The institute brings together faculty and students from across academic disciplines to address grand challenges and societal problems with creativity from the frontiers of artistic expression, science, engineering, and design.

  • The Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science is directed by Stefan Duma. The institute works across disciplinary boundaries to embrace ambitious research at the intersections of engineering, the humanities, and the physical, life, and social sciences.

  • The Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment is led by Executive Director Karen Roberto and advances the university’s engagement in the social sciences to address critical human and societal concerns of people across Virginia, the nation, and the world. 

Thematic institutes

Virginia Tech’s thematic institutes carry out leading-edge, cross-disciplinary research in a particular area that aligns with the university’s vision and mission. Each thematic institute houses expertise and infrastructure designed to carry out world-changing research and development activities. In addition to receiving investments of university funds, thematic institutes also have deep relationships with sponsors and partners and receive substantial extramural research funding. 

  • The Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC is led by Founding Executive Director Mike Friedlander, who also serves as the university’s vice president for health sciences and technology. The institute's scientists focus on diseases that represent the leading causes of death and suffering, including brain disorders, heart disease, and cancer.  

  • The Virginia Tech National Security Institute was launched in 2021 on the foundation of the Ted and Karyn Hume Center for National Security and Technology and is led by Executive Director Eric Paterson. The institute works to meet the pressing needs of the defense and intelligence communities by developing their future workforce and advancing interdisciplinary research, technology, and policy with expertise in secure communications and spectrum management, space and undersea missions, autonomous systems, cybersecurity, and the data science of machine learning and artificial intelligence.

  • The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute is led by Executive Director Zac Doerzaph and encompasses the largest group of driving safety researchers in the world. Its research has led to significant policy changes in driver, passenger, and pedestrian safety as well as advanced vehicle and infrastructure design to increase safety and reduce environmental impacts.

For more information, visit the institute websites and connect with their faculty and leadership.

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