Research @ Iowa State

Presidential Initiatives

Iowa State’s Office of the President has made unprecedented investments in research efforts that will lead to major advances, discoveries, and technologies.

Since the Presidential Interdisciplinary Research Initiative (PIRI) began in 2012, it has launched a 15 new interdisciplinary research teams made up of more than 150 Iowa State researchers from a wide range of disciplines. The teams have already leveraged their PIRI support to attract more than $52 million in external research funding.

PIRI awards have launched a wide range of research with far-reaching impact:

  • The Consortium for Cultivating Human And Naturally reGenerative Enterprises, or C-CHANGE, aims to catalyze new science and engineering breakthroughs to deliver abundant, affordable and safe food to 10 billion people without compromising the Earth’s supportive capacity in the long term.
  • The Antimicrobial Resistance Consortium is a regional network of AMR scientists, researchers, educators and extension personnel who aim to reduce antimicrobial resistance through unified and proven multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional research teams.
  • Formation of a transdisciplinary, translational research network, U-TuRN, whose vision is to build sustainable community systems that enable healthy lifestyles by empowering communities to take action informed by science.
  • A team formed to develop nanovaccines and nanotherapeutics for respiratory infections, neural disorders, tropical diseases, cancer, and veterinary diseases. They evolved into the Nanovaccine Institute.
  • The Global Food Security Consortium works to create global food security by looking at every step of the food value chain.
  • The Crop Bioengineering Center is conducting research to enable the bioengineering of valuable traits in a variety of crops to address the challenge of providing sufficient food, feed, biofuels, and biorenewable chemicals for the world’s burgeoning population.
  • The Big Data Brain Initiative is accelerating state-of-the-art brain research by developing technologies to treat and diagnose brain disorders and advance neuroscience.
  • Researchers are developing a plan to implement evidence-based interventions to public health challenges such as obesity, substance abuse and depression in our communities.


The first round of Presidential Interdisciplinary Research Seed (PIRS) grants was announced in 2017. PIRS grants support the beginning stages of new interdisciplinary research that has strong potential to attract external funding.

Projects that received the initial PIRS grants will take on an array of challenges, from crop diseases to human health to the resiliency of spacecraft materials.


In 2017, the first round of Presidential Cost-Sharing Research Instrumentation Funding (COSRIF) was also announced. COSRIF is building Iowa State’s research infrastructure by offering support for new research instruments, expanding the capabilities of existing equipment, and developing new instrumentation.

In the first projects to receive funding, new equipment will help researchers scale their work to the nano level.