Interdisciplinary Endeavors to Solve Critical Challenges

Aim: Focus research, scholarship, creative activity, and student experiences to foster innovative, interdisciplinary endeavors and solve challenges critical to Nebraska and the world


We don’t rest on our strengths — we stretch them and combine them. Interdisciplinary approaches in research and creative activity propel new ways of generating knowledge. The University of Nebraska values interdisciplinary work and embraces collaboration, characterized by an openness and respect for differing disciplines and perspectives, to address challenges facing our community, nation, and world. At Nebraska, a context that promotes, supports, and rewards interdisciplinary work encourages academicians, scientists, artists, and students with diverse experiences and knowledge to learn with and from one another, thereby accelerating the potential for solving Grand Challenges. Inherent in interdisciplinary work at Nebraska is that every person contributes, and every interaction matters, in the creation of new knowledge and solutions.


  1. Prioritize diversity of perspectives, approaches, and backgrounds when solving challenges
  2. Build, strengthen, and evaluate interdisciplinary centers and organized units to promote productivity, minimize duplication, and retain an emphasis on priority areas
  3. Revise policies and practices to incentivize interdisciplinary collaboration across departments, colleges, centers, and campuses, and with partners across the country and world
  4. Establish flexible and functional facilities for interdisciplinary research, creative activity, teaching and learning
  5. Create shared learning experiences that include interdisciplinary groups of students, post-doctoral fellows, and faculty
  6. Leverage interdisciplinary strengths and related initiatives, including those at Nebraska Innovation Campus and elsewhere, into the development of intellectual property, technology transfer, and entrepreneurial activity
  7. Identify Grand Challenges that leverage existing strengths and seek to solve issues important to Nebraska and the world
  8. Commit, generate, and expand sources of support for investment in Grand Challenges, interdisciplinary research, creative activity, and education
  9. Integrate creative activities and education into solutions for Grand Challenges in an intentional and substantive manner


  1. Increased number and diversity of individuals, teams (faculty, staff, post-doctoral fellows, and students), and centers working on high priority challenges
  2. Increased investments (financial resources and facilities) in successful teams and centers
  3. Evaluation system developed and implemented to ensure continued productivity of successful interdisciplinary centers and units
  4. Increased number of national and international collaborations in Grand Challenge areas
  5. Increased number of interdisciplinary scholarly products (proposals, grants, publications, creative works)
  6. Increased number of tenure-track faculty apportioned to interdisciplinary centers and units
  7. Annual review and promotion documents that value and reward collaboration and interdisciplinary work
  8. Increased number of interdisciplinary learning experiences established
  9. Increased number of patents, copyrights, licensing, and research-based start-up companies
  10. Grand Challenge topics for Nebraska established and resources committed to them
  11. Structures and systems established to support research and creative activities aligned with Grand Challenges


  1. Increase extramural funding, scholarship, and creative activities generated by interdisciplinary teams by 15% annually on a three-year rolling average
  2. At least 50% of strategic research investments aligned with university-prioritized Grand Challenges
  3. Increase the number of U.S. patents issued by 70% and the number of licenses executed by 50%
  4. Form seven research-based start-up companies annually, based on university technologies

Back to The Aims of the 2025 Strategic Plan