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Research Frontiers

Solving challenges emerging in a rapidly changing world

The university has invested in major research initiatives, bringing together diverse expertise that transcends traditional discipline boundaries. In partnership with industry, government, and foundations, these focus areas address emerging challenges and opportunities that seek to improve the human condition and create a better world for all. 

These strategically focused areas are Virginia Tech Research Frontiers.

Championing Research

“Our goal is to win more large grants in these research areas,” said Dan Sui, senior vice president for research and innovation. “Such awards will progress the university’s expenditures, reputation, and ranking, and accelerate President Sands’ goal to position Virginia Tech as a top global land grant university."

Dan Sui with his wife and family pet.

Virginia Tech Research Frontiers

Kaveh Akbari Hamed Lab Robots.

The Artificial Intelligence Frontier

Harnessing artificial intelligence for intelligence augmentation

Building on expertise in artificial intelligence and data science, systems engineering, neuroscience, human factors, robotics, immersive visualization, and education, among others, to accelerate human-technology partnerships toward seamless augmentation, ethically and sustainably.

A researcher in a lab working with plants.

The Health Frontier

Leading one heath to achieve whole health

Changing the focus on disease and symptoms to one of whole health, integrating intersections of animal, environment, and human health and building in communities and systems to empower multifaceted well-being.

A man flying a drone in a field.

The Security Frontier

Innovating for secure and resilient communities

Ensuring communities are prepared to face global threats, from climate change to cybersecurity to national defense through advances in preparation, defense, mitigation, and recovery.

A group of researchers having discussion at a whiteboard.

The Quantum Frontier

Advancing the quantum leap

Using an unparalleled transdisciplinary focus to accelerate the integration of quantum technologies across society, realizing unprecedented computing and communication capabilities and restructuring our social framework.

Virginia Tech NATIONAL SECURITY INSTITUTE FORMED

“As chairman of the Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence, I am pleased that Virginia Tech is strategically organizing and prioritizing its national security research and workforce efforts,” said U.S. Sen. Mark Warner. “Given the university’s nearly $50 million Department of Defense research portfolio, and its strategic locations in Northern Virginia near key national intelligence agencies and the Pentagon, this purposeful focusing of Virginia Tech’s efforts in national security is welcome news. Virginia Tech’s new National Security Institute will help our nation develop new security-related technological advancements while helping train the future generations of intelligence leaders.”

Virginia Tech national security institute

Northrop Grumman commits $12.5 million toward quantum research and education

Virginia Tech faculty, students, and collaborators are working together at the intersection of quantum disciplines to drive quantum mechanics from the lab into real world applications. The new partnership with Northrop Grumman positions the university to dramatically increase the scope of its transdisciplinary quantum-related research and teaching.

An architect's rendition of the Visitor Center planned for Virginia Tech's Innovation Campus.

FURTHER, FASTER

Immersive technologies like virtual and augmented reality are still often confined to small spaces, few users, and limited connectivity. Walid Saad aims to harness 5G and 6G connectivity across the U.S. to power wireless immersion, at greater distances and in vastly bigger spaces.

Walid Saad. Photo by Peter Means for Virginia Tech.

The Miraculous, Imperfect Mechanics of Pregnancy

Raffaella De Vita's STRETCH Lab studies pregnancy's constant remodeling of reproductive organs and structures — and how those biomechanical changes may contribute to injuries and disorders that affect millions of women.

Raffaella De Vita's STRETCH Lab studies pregnancy's constant remodeling of reproductive organs and structures — and how those biomechanical changes may contribute to injuries and disorders that affect millions of women.