Iowa State Research

Iowa State University Research Grand Challenges

Iowa State and university faculty are committed to purposeful research, whether it’s foundational research that contributes the building blocks to greater exploration and understanding, or translational research that leads to new innovations and technologies that benefit society. The purpose that drives most research at Iowa State is defined by grand challenges that are core to the university strategic plan. Many projects within the institution are shaped and framed to address at least one of these challenge themes. This focus helps cultivate innovation and the creation of intellectual property that fuels economic growth and supports the betterment of our state, national and global communities.

Enabling healthy lives (plants, animals, people, communities)

Healthy lives are about more than avoiding illness; they’re about interconnections between human, plant and animal wellbeing. Healthy lives are made possible through better ways to combat diseases – from well-established principles to new, emerging innovations – and societal decisions that encourage and support healthier choices.

Building sustainable human and natural ecosystems

Sustainability allows us to meet the needs of the present without limiting our aspirations for the future. Sustainability affects how we interact with the world we inhabit. It influences how we construct and dispose of the world we build while also guiding how our decisions impact and shape the world we leave behind.

Creating next-generation materials and manufacturing technologies

New materials and advanced manufacturing come together to transform product design and make American manufacturing more competitive. Innovation in new materials and advanced manufacturing strengthen U.S. leadership and economic development through the creation of intellectual property that launches entrepreneurial ventures and galvanizes industry partnerships.

Advancing data-driven discovery and secure cyber systems

Data-driven science presents opportunities for discovery and new insights that lead to actionable intelligence in economic and community settings. Data-driven science furthers our understanding through methodologies for processing and analyzing data and research on societal impacts such as privacy and security, policy and ethics.

Developing global citizens and vibrant societies

Educating and shaping global citizens who better the world through their actions and values involves an interplay of learning, critical thinking, creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. A more global citizenry – that sees opportunity in challenge and strives for greater knowledge and understanding – fosters more vibrant societies that embrace and sustain greater cultural, social and economic diversity.