Centers & Initiatives

Related centers, institutes, and initiatives

We are closely linked with a variety of multidisciplinary and innovative education and research institutes, centers, and initiatives.

The University is also part of an integrated partnership, called the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN), comprising 13 user facilities, led by Cornell and Stanford, that provide opportunities for nanoscience and nanotechnology research.

Based at SEAS

BASF Advanced Research Initiative at Harvard University

Set up as an integrated partnership among Harvard and BASF researchers, the BASF Advanced Research Initiative at Harvard benefits from having strong ties with departments and schools throughout the University.

The decisive difference of this collaboration between academia and industry from most research initiatives is its more integrative nature: BASF researchers from Germany are working closely with Harvard academic research teams, easing scientific exchange on the projects, as well as fostering broader interaction between the two institutions.

This arrangement also gives the students the opportunity to benefit from a close interaction and early exposure to industry. Present projects focus on approaches to prevent biofilm formation and the use of colloidal techniques to develop formulations of pharmaceutical actives.

For more information contact Jens Rieger.

Bio-Inspired Optics: Offering Physical and Technological Insights into Color and Structure

The Bio-Inspired Optics MURI’s mission is to develop a better understanding of the relationship between structure and optical function in biological organisms and to design innovative bio-inspired optical structures. The research is conducted in four focused thrust areas. The effort is sponsored by a Department of Defense (DoD) Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) through the Air Force Office of Sponsored Research (AFOSR).

Center for Integrated Quantum Materials (CIQM)

The Center for Integrated Quantum Materials (CIQM) is an NSF Science and Technology Center studying extraordinary new quantum materials with striking 'non-conventional' properties with the promise to transform signal processing and computation.

Center for Research on Computation and Society (CRCS)

Harvard's Center for Research on Computation and Society (CRCS) brings computer scientists together with a broad range of scholars from other fields to develop new computer science theory and technology in the public interest, informed by a deep knowledge of the societal issues at stake.  Areas of study include healthcare informatics, electronic markets, privacy, security, and social computing.

Institute for Applied Computational Science (IACS)

The Institute for Applied Computational Science was established in September 2010. It is charged with launching a unique interdisciplinary education and research program in computational science and engineering (CSE).

The new Institute will create an intellectual home for faculty and students applying computational methods to major challenges in science and enhance existing courses in applied mathematics and computation and develop new computational science courses, activities and research opportunities for Harvard students from across the sciences

By establishing the Institute, SEAS has committed to fostering graduate training and research in applied computational science, infusing the curriculum with new courses and student research opportunities that will focus on the use of computation to power discovery and innovation.

Kavli Institute for Bionano Science and Technology at Harvard University (KIBST)

The Kavli Institute for Bionano Science and Technology seeks to develop a deeper understanding of the functioning of life and biology at the nanoscale level.

The Institute: brings together a wide range of scientists, including physicists, engineers, chemists, biologists as well as HMS clinicians to address fundamental questions about the behavior and functioning of biological systems; allows biologists, engineers, and clinicians to potentially use such knowledge to foster applications and new technologies; and provides a way for the tool-developers (physicists, engineers, computer scientists) to work with the tool-users (biologists, chemists, clinicians) in the early stages of scientific inquiry and encourage scientific collaboration at the innovation stage of tool development.

Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC)

The Materials Research Science and Engineering Center at Harvard is one of eleven such centers sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The Center is the focus of interdisciplinary research at the University.

The participants of the MRSEC are drawn from five areas, including the SEAS; Chemistry and Chemical Biology (Chemistry), Physics; Earth and Planetary Sciences (EPS); and the Medical School (HMS).

The center is organized into three Interdisciplinary Research Groups (IRGS): IRG 1: Multiscale Mechanics of Films and Interfaces; IRG 2: Engineering Materials and Techniques for Biological Studies at Cellular Scales; and IRG 3: Interface-Mediated Assembly of Soft Materials.

Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard (TECH)

TECH's mission is to advance the understanding and practice of innovation and entrepreneurship through experiential education: by initiating, advancing and informing student projects. TECH helps faculty create and deliver innovation and entrepreneurship project courses, provides students with project support and sponsors and advises student groups working to build the Harvard innovation community.

Water Security Initiative at Harvard

The Water Security Initiative at Harvard strives to help build water-secure countries. It does this through focused programs of interdisciplinary research which will identify new and better tools (institutions, infrastructure, and technologies).

Based at FAS and/or University-wide

Center for Brain Science (CBS)

Researchers in the Center for Brain Science are discovering the structure and function of neural circuits.

We do this to understand:

  • how these circuits govern behavior and vary between individuals
  • how they change during development and aging
  • how they underlie neurological and psychiatric disorders.

To accomplish this mission, CBS brings neuroscientists together with physical scientists and engineers to develop new tools for neuroscience. Members are drawn from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Department of Neurobiology at the Harvard Medical School, the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and the Harvard-affiliated hospitals.

Center for Nanoscale Systems (CNS)

The Center for Nanoscale Systems, formerly known as the Center for Imaging and Mesoscale Structures (CIMS), was created by FAS in 1999 to assist and support the research community of Harvard University researchers and collaborators.

The inclusion of CNS in the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN) in 2004 has expanded that function to include any and all other members of the larger research community both local and national, academic and non-academic who conduct research in any aspect of the large and growing field of nanoscale science.

CNS is located in the Laboratory for Integrated Science and Engineering (LISE).

Harvard Catalyst

Harvard Catalyst is a pan-Harvard University enterprise dedicated to improving human health. It is a shared enterprise of Harvard University, its ten schools and its eighteen Academic Healthcare Centers (AHC), as well as the Boston College School of Nursing, MIT, the Cambridge Health Alliance, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and numerous community partners.

Harvard Catalyst was founded in May 2008 with a five year, $117.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (Clinical and Translational Science Center, CTSC) and $75 million dollars from the Harvard University Science and Engineering Committee, Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Children's Hospital Boston, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital. The resources of the Harvard Catalyst are available to all faculties at Harvard regardless of their institutional affiliation or academic degree.

Harvard University Center for the Environment (HUCE)

The Harvard University Center for the Environment encourages research and education about the environment and its many interactions with human society.

The Center draws its strength from faculty members and students across the University who make up a remarkable intellectual community of scholars, researchers, and teachers of diverse fields including chemistry, earth and planetary sciences, engineering and applied sciences, biology, public health and medicine, government, business, economics, religion, and the law.

The most pressing problems facing our natural environment are complex, often requiring collaborative investigation by scholars versed in different disciplines. By connecting scholars and practitioners from different disciplines, the Center for the Environment seeks to raise the quality of environmental research at Harvard and beyond.

Institute for Quantum Science and Engineering (IQSE)

The Institute for Quantum Science and Engineering is a new Harvard Science and Technology Initiative, established in 2006, supported by the Provost's Office and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

The Mission of the IQSE is to foster cross-disciplinary research and education in new areas at the intersection of nanoscience, atomic physics, device engineering and computer science, that in various ways seeks to apply principles of quantum mechanics to advanced technologies.

The Institute is currently virtual, though plans for a home for the IQSE in the Pierce-Lyman-Cruft-LISE complex are being developed. IQSE programs include seed support for new research initiatives, a fellowship program, support for long and short term visitors, and support for conferences on related topics at Harvard.

The Microbial Sciences Initiative (MSI)

The Microbial Sciences Initiative at Harvard is an interdisciplinary science program aimed at a comprehensive understanding of the richest biological reservoir of the planet, the microbial world. Microbes are ubiquitous and have an impact on every aspect of our existence.

Yet, their intrinsic invisibility has meant that they have remained largely unknown, their effects and enormous potential often unrecognized. The recent realization of the vastness of microbial diversity and the genomics revolution have propelled the microbial sciences into an exciting new era of investigation.

The Rowland Institute

The Rowland Institute at Harvard is dedicated to experimental science over a broad range of disciplines. Current research is carried out in physics, chemistry, and biology, with an emphasis on interdisciplinary work and the development of new experimental tools.

The Institute is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts near the Longfellow Bridge over the Charles River, a few miles downstream from the main campus.

The Institute was originally founded by the late Edwin H. Land in 1980 as The Rowland Institute for Science, a privately endowed, nonprofit, basic research organization, conceived to advance science in a wide variety of fields. Currently members of the Institute are performing research in several areas of physics, chemistry and biology.

Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University

The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University aims to discover the engineering principles that nature uses to build living things and to harness this knowledge to create biologically inspired materials, devices, and control technologies for medical and non-medical applications.

In medicine, the Institute's goal is to advance the science and engineering necessary to develop biomimetic materials, microdevices, microrobots, and innovative disease reprogramming technologies that emulate how living cells, tissues and organs self-organize and naturally regulate themselves.

A deeper understanding of how living systems build, recycle, and control also will ultimately lead to more efficient ways of converting energy, controlling manufacturing, improving the environment, and creating a more sustainable world.

Discontinued Programs

Initiative in Innovative Computing (archive)

The Initiative in Innovative Computing (IIC) operated as a Harvard interfaculty initiative from 2006 to 2009. The activities of the Interfaculty Initiative are summarized in the IIC Report. This site contains IIC resources and records and pointers to projects that continue elsewhere.