Research Institutes and Centers
At the heart of CU-Boulder's tradition of research excellence is a system of world-class research institutes and centers that create a dynamic environment for discovery and learning.
Since the first institutes emerged a half-century ago, research teams of faculty, students, and external partners have tackled complex questions from multiple perspectives, leading to important advances in human knowledge in such areas as climate, energy resources, atmosphere, outer space, human behavior, solar energy, the human mind, and atomic, molecular and optics studies.
CU-Boulder's 11 research institutes account for more than half of all sponsored research dollars at the university – and they employ some of the most productive researchers in the country.
With more than 900 researchers and supporting staff, the institutes make a major contribution to the university's research and education missions as well as the local and area economy. Numerous graduate students are employed by the institutes, which contribute to the quality of graduate education at CU-Boulder. Clearly, the institutes will play a central role in the university's future as envisioned in Flagship 2030.
In addition to the large research institutes, there are nearly 90 research centers housed within academic departments or as subsets of the research institutes themselves. They can be found in all fields of the university, including humanities and the arts, social sciences, natural sciences, engineering, business, and law.
The centers cover a broad range of topics, from multicultural education and astrophysics to glaciology and prevention of violence. They grant fellowships, sponsor internships, house archives for research, conduct competitions with cash awards, host public debates and programs, and support graduate study in many other ways.
Formation of Institutes, Centers, Bureaus, and Laboratories
The formation of institutes, centers, laboratories or bureaus, begins with the submission of proposals to the Vice Chancellor for Research, per the Procedures for the Establishment of Institutes, Centers, Laboratories and Bureaus. Institutes are permanent entities, and their establishment requires final approval by the CU Board of Regents.
Reauthorization: Centers, Bureaus and Laboratories do not need to be approved by the CU Board of Regents, but they do need to go through periodic review and reauthorization. See the Procedures for Reauthorization of Centers, Bureaus, and Laboratories.