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Research Growth Areas

ASU researchers across all disciplines advance discovery and innovation to solve the world’s most complex challenges. We are particularly focused on nine key areas where we offer a deep foundation of expertise.

Climate adaptation

Managing our planet in the Anthropocene demands resilience—resilient infrastructure, resilient technology and resilient decision-making. ASU researchers work collaboratively across disciplines to help us adapt to and mitigate the effects of a changing climate to ensure a healthy, prosperous future. 

ASU strength areas:

  • carbon management
  • air and atmospheric quality
  • planet-scale decision-making and policy
  • impacts on integrated Earth systems
  • resilient design of cities

Education innovation

How do we empower a growing, diverse population to succeed in the 21st century? ASU scholars combine research on how we learn with the latest technology innovations to provide high-quality education at scale. The university itself is a living laboratory for exploring education innovation, with programs such as ASU Online, one of the leading online degree programs in the country, and EdPlus, which designs solutions for improving student outcomes and creating master learners.

ASU strength areas:

  • learning sciences
  • online education
  • augmented reality

Energy

Electricity and fuel are essential to nearly every aspect of our lives, from food production and transportation to communications and medical care. ASU researchers are developing the technologies to provide plentiful, reliable and sustainable energy, while addressing social and policy issues that ensure it is accessible to all.

ASU strength areas:

  • solar electric
  • sustainable fuels
  • energy and society

Food

Food not only nourishes our bodies, but also our cultural traditions, personal relationships and religious rituals. Food production and distribution also transform our planet. ASU researchers examine food as it relates to health, sustainability, economics, policy and culture, to ensure that we can feed a growing population—body and spirit.

Health and well-being

Health is more than just the absence of disease. ASU integrates environmental, social, economic, policy and behavioral considerations with the science and technology of health care to promote optimal physical and mental well-being.

ASU strength areas:

  • neurobiology, aging, dementias and movement disorders
  • cancer prevention, detection, management and treatment
  • viruses, immunity, microbiomes and infectious disease
  • nutrition, obesity, exercise and lifestyle
  • behavior, addiction, mental illness and criminal justice
  • health care delivery, disparities, policy and economics

Materials and manufacturing

ASU researchers are accelerating the pace of technology development through materials and manufacturing innovation. They are developing novel materials; looking to nature for resilient and sustainable methodologies; and advancing cutting-edge, large-scale manufacturing processing for applications targeting health care, transportation, energy, construction, space and sensors.   

ASU strength areas:

  • materials discovery and multi-scale modeling
  • synthesis, imaging and characterization of materials from the atomic scale to bulk composites
  • 3-D printing
  • flexible electronics and bioelectronics
  • sensors and robotics
  • construction materials

Space

Like other industries requiring massive investment, space exploration took off with public support through agencies like NASA. Now the time is ripe for private companies to launch the next wave of innovative space ventures. ASU is leveraging its deep history of space research and strong connections with NASA to build relationships with companies like SpaceX, Virgin Galactic and others. Together we are charting the future course of space travel and training the next generation of space entrepreneurs.

Transportation

Mobility of people and goods demands infrastructure, vehicles, fuel, and the policies and processes that support and coordinate them. ASU researchers are accelerating our journey toward safer, more efficient and sustainable transport of people and goods.

ASU strength areas:

  • intelligent and smart mobility services for urban and rural populations
  • infrastructure development
  • alternative fuel and electric vehicles

Water

Nearly one-tenth of the world’s population lacks access to clean, safe drinking water. Yet 70 percent of the planet is covered in this precious resource. ASU is changing the narrative about water from one of scarcity to one of abundance, leveraging research, technology and innovation to get Earth’s water to the right place at the right time with adequate quality.

ASU strength areas:

  • corporate decision support
  • harnessing Internet of Things datasheds
  • urban efficiency
  • modular FEW technology
  • cross-training leaders

Focus on Topics