The college is home to many interdisciplinary research centers that bring together faculty, students, and other professional participants.


  • Aerospace Mechanics Research Center (AMReC)
    Develops innovative analytical models and experiments for the next generation of aerospace structures and systems.
  • BioServe Space Technologies
    A research partnership center that works closely with NASA and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) to use space for valuable life science applications that benefit humanity. Bioserve facilitates commercial use of the unique environment of space for biomedical, pharmaceutical, bioprocessing, agricultural, and environmental research.
  • Center for Advanced Decision Support for Water and Environmental Systems (CADSWES)
    An interdisciplinary research environment focusing on R&D of innovative decision support software, transfer of technologies to professionals, research in water systems modeling, hydropower optimization, improving water management, and adapting to climate change.
  • Center for Fundamentals and Application of Photopolymerization
    An Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (IUCRC) advancing the fundamental understanding of the kinetics and mechanisms of photopolymerizations. It enables active collaborations among industrial and academic investigators who are exploring cutting-edge research on photopolymerization processes, and are developing novel applications based upon its unique set of advantages.
  • Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology (CPB)
    Partners with pharmaceutical biotechnology companies to form a unique program emphasizing multi-disciplinary scientific education as well as training in non-scientific disciplines critical to the success of the pharmaceutical biotechnology industry.
  • Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (C-UAS)
  • An Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (IUCRC) involving Brigham Young University, the University of Colorado at Boulder, Virginia Tech, Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Michigan, C-UAS is the nation’s NSF-funded unmanned aircraft research center.
  • Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research (CCAR)
    Dedicated to the study of astrodynamics and the application of satellites to science, navigation, and remote sensing of the Earth and planets. Research emphasis areas include astrodynamics, which involves orbital and attitude motion of Earth satellites, interplanetary spacecraft, and planetary bodies; global navigation satellite systems used for orbit determination, remote sensing, and vehicle navigation, and remote sensing of the Earth’s surface, gravity field, oceans, atmosphere and space.
  • Colorado Power Electronics Center (CoPEC)
    Focuses on smart power electronics for energy efficiency and renewable energy applications and systems. The center maintains a tradition of innovative design-oriented and application-focused research and education in power electronics and integrated circuit design.
  • Design Center Colorado (DCC)
    An industry-education partnership within the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder. DC Colorado is a new concept in engineering education, fostering innovative, technical collaborations with business, industry, and government agencies.
  • Membrane Applied Science and Technology Center (MAST)
    One of NSF's longest running industry/university cooperative research centers (IUCRCs). The center advances membrane technology in separation processes through research and development​, promotes education in membrane science and engineering​, and provides effective technology transfer between the Center and its industrial partners.
  • Mortenson Center in Global Engineering and Resilience
    Combines classroom work, research and development, and real world, on-the-ground experience to train engineers to work in partnership with organizations in developing communities worldwide. Our goal is to create sustainable and appropriate solutions to meet people's basic needs.
  • Research and Engineering Center for Unmanned Vehicles (RECUV)
    A university, government, and industry partnership dedicated to the development and application of unmanned vehicle systems for scientific, industrial, and military applications.

Research Institutes

  • ATLAS Institute
    An interdisciplinary institute to inspire research, experimentation and critical thinking that turns ingenious ideas into reality. The institute’s labs and academic programs encourage out-of-the-box thinking and creative exploration, attracting technology visionaries and virtuosos who reach beyond convention, take risks and innovate.
  • Biofrontiers Institute
    Convenes researchers from the life sciences, physical sciences, computer science and engineering to uncover new knowledge at the frontiers of science, and partnering with industry to make their discoveries relevant.
  • Center for Environmental Mass Spectrometry (CEMS)
    A laboratory that focusing on the detection of pharmaceuticals, hormones, and other organic contaminants in water and evaluating the effectiveness of methods for removing these compounds.
  • Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES)
    A partnership of NOAA and CU Boulder in which hundreds of environmental scientists work to understand the dynamic Earth system, including people's relationship with the planet.
  • Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR)
    Works to discover and communicate the mechanisms that drive environmental change – matters that are becoming ever more urgent as changes in climate and land use are felt worldwide.
  • Institute for Cognitive Sciences (ICS)
    Promotes interdisciplinary research and training in cognitive science. The Institute is known for theory development and the application of those theories to real-world problems. Research within the institute can be classified into three interdisciplinary areas: Training and Education, Language Processing, and Higher Level Cognition.
  • JILA
    Formed in 1962 as a joint institute of CU Boulder and NIST, the acronym stood for "Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics." However, JILA's research quickly expanded to include fields like atomic, molecular and optical physics, as well as biophysics, quantum information, precision measurement, and more.
  • JILA Keck Optical Measurement Laboratory 
    A multidisciplinary institute operated jointly by the University of Colorado Boulder and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. JILA researchers have produced innovative developments in lasers and optical science and use laser technology in fundamental research in physics and chemistry. 
  • Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) 
    Combines all aspects of space exploration through our expertise in science, engineering, mission operations, and scientific data analysis. Started in 1948, a decade before NASA, it is the world’s only research institute to have sent instruments to all eight planets and Pluto.
  • Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute (RASEI)
    A joint institute between CU Boulder and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory addressing important, complex problems in energy that require a multidisciplinary, multi-institutional approach. Its mission is to expedite solutions that transform energy by advancing renewable energy science, engineering, and analysis through research, education, and industry partnerships.

Research Initiatives

  • AeroSpace Ventures
    This Initiative creates a collaborative environment in which CU Boulder's aerospace engineering and earth and space science faculty, students, and industrial researchers work together to solve complex problems that lead to new discoveries and innovations.
  • Bioengineering Graduate Program, Anschutz Medical Campus
    Focuses on developing core competencies in life sciences, quantitative methods, technology, and research methods. Students earn the MS, dual MS, PhD, or MD-PhD degree in bioengineering with a choice of training tracks in basic research, clinical applications, or commercialization of medical technologies.
  • Center for Environmental Technology
    Supports the development of advanced environmental sensors for use by governments, industry, and academia.
  • Computational Bioscience Program, Anschutz Medical Campus
    Dedicated to training computational biologists who aspire to achieve excellence in research, education and service, and who will apply the skills they learn toward improving human health and deepening our understanding of the living world.
  • Colorado Space Grant Consortium (COSGC)
    A NASA-funded, state-wide organization involving 21 colleges, universities and institutions around Colorado. It provides Colorado students access to space through innovative courses, real-world hands-on telescope and satellite programs, and interactive outreach programs.
  • Environmental Studies Program
    A hub for facilitating interdisciplinary collaboration in environment and sustainability
  • Grand Challenge – Our Space. Our Future. fuses CU Boulder’s unique strengths in earth, space and social sciences with new technologies and partners to address the pace and pattern of changes for our environment, our resources and our planet.
    • Earth Lab
      Part of the CU Boulder Grand  Challenge, Earth Lab’s mission is to harmonize the wave of Earth observations from aerospace platforms and other sources to address scientific challenges in understanding the pace and pattern of global change to help society better manage and adapt.
    • Integrated Remote and In Situ Sensing (IRISS)
      Part of the CU Boulder Grand  Challenge, this multi-disciplinary team leads the design, development, and deployment of novel remote and in-situ sensing systems to exploit mobility enabled by aerospace systems to enhance data collection from the ground, in the atmosphere, and from space.
    • Space Minor
      Part of the CU Boulder Grand  Challenge, the Space Minor program provides CU Boulder students of any Major with an over-arching background in all aspects of space.
    • Space Weather Technology, Research and Education Center (SWx TREC)
      Part of the CU Boulder Grand  Challenge, this initiative seeks to address the significant societal, economic, national security, and health impacts presented by space weather.
  • Interdisciplinary Quantitative Biology Program
    A PhD certificate program that supports students who have a vision for their research and education and the flexibility to grow beyond the boundaries that define academic disciplines.
  • National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT)
    A national non-profit, with more than 1,100 member organizations, aiming to increase the meaningful participation of women across the computing ecosystem. Through primary research, as well as evidence- and theory-based strategies and programs, NCWIT supports organizational change. Programs and practices focus on recruiting, retaining, and advancing girls and women in computing from K-12 and higher education through industry and entrepreneurial careers.