Leverage Our Research and Curricular Strengths to Address Grand Challenges
To Address the Critical Challenges of Our Diverse and Changing World
We will create an exceptional university that marshals our research and curricular strengths to address the most critical challenges of our state, nation, and world.
From biosciences collaborations to scholarship that illuminates history and culture, we will lead and innovate as Minnesota’s globally engaged research university. We will connect research and curricular strategies to ensure that our faculty and staff do their best work and provide students with innovative educational opportunities that prepare them to be leaders, innovators, and global citizens in a diverse and changing world.
While we will continue to develop and honor deep expertise in specialized areas and outstanding disciplinary scholarship, we will remove barriers to transdisciplinary aspiration and achievement—keeping Minnesota at the forefront of emerging knowledge and leveraging our research and curricular strengths to solve the grand challenges of our diverse and changing world.
Grand Challenges Research Areas
Drawing broadly on the strengths of the campus, the Provost’s Grand Challenges Research Strategies Team identified five interrelated Grand Challenges where the University is well-positioned to have great impact on the most critical challenges of our state and world. The challenges intersect and involve many contributing areas and topics.
- Learn more about the Grand Challenges as a key component of the University’s strategic vision: Grand Challenges Research Report (PDF) | Grand Challenges Overview Graphic (PDF)
The University has continued to move forward to advance the research goals of Driving Tomorrow. Following an extensive faculty-driven process, the University in fall 2016 announced an investment of $3.6 million to fund a slate of 29 research collaborations addressing the Grand Challenges priorities. A second round of Driving Tomorrow research investments (Phase 2) was announced in fall 2017.
Achieve adequate supplies of safe and clean water to sustain people, agriculture, and industry, while protecting water resources and ensuring the sustainability of environmental systems and the vitality of communities on rivers, lakes, and seas. Learn more.
Assure quality of life and equality of opportunity for all members of diverse communities—including educational and health equity, economic opportunity, personal security, and cultural experience. Learn more.
Foster community and population health—together with individual physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being—by tailoring health care services and interventions to biological, social, and cultural circumstances. Learn more.
Foster physical, mental, and cognitive well-being from early childhood through late maturity, across the course of life transitions, ensuring that individuals and communities thrive amid great social, technological, and ecological change. Learn more.
Produce, distribute, and maintain safe and sufficient food supplies through environmentally sustainable practices to ensure the vitality of growing and demographically diverse populations. Learn more.
Learn more about the Grand Challenges as a key component of the University’s strategic vision: Grand Challenges Research Report (PDF) | Grand Challenges Overview Graphic (PDF) | Learn about the campuswide GC research process
Many of the most pressing issues in society, from equitable access to health care to sustainable land use, are also the most complex. University researchers are increasingly coming together across disciplines to combine their areas of expertise and take a more comprehensive approach to solving these issues. The UMN's Grand Challenges Research Initiative aims to enhance this type of interdisciplinary research.
The second batch of Grand Challenges Research awards have been announced by Executive Vice President and Provost Karen Hanson. This second phase, which focuses on two of the University's five Grand Challenges focus areas, allocates $2.96 million over two years to support six interdisciplinary team projects--engaging more than 120 faculty and external partners--and two six-member, one-year Grand Challenges Research Scholar Collaboratives.