KU researchers demonstrate two dancing robots they've created

Themes + impact

KU Research’s mission is to address problems of worldwide significance, deliver solutions that make a difference to Kansas and the region, and promote an inclusive community of responsible inquiry and innovation for students and scholars.

Research themes

KU has a storied history of impactful research, scholarship and creative activity across a broad range of disciplines, consistent with its role as a major research university and member of the AAU. The Office of Research is committed to supporting research across the entire university. The outstanding research carried out at KU by its faculty and students is wide-ranging in its disciplinary and methodological moorings. Some areas of research are more likely to attract major external funding, but that is not our only measure of excellence: The Office of Research values and supports all research endeavors across KU’s landscape of creativity.

We have identified five strategic research areas that align with major global challenges and represent opportunities to build upon our emerging strengths. Fortifying research in these areas will help the University of Kansas achieve national preeminence across a range of disciplines. The Research Rising initiative will launch projects in line with these themes, expanding key faculty expertise and investing in infrastructure and research support.

Development Across the Lifespan

Advancing educational, social and behavioral approaches to address developmental challenges.

Children sit outside and conduct an experiment while adults supervise and smile looking on

Earth, Energy + Environment

Increasing understanding to help sustain the life of our planet and its inhabitants.

Two researchers wearing masks examine wild sunflowers at the KU Field Station

Human Experience in the Digital Age

Exploring what is gained and lost in the human experience as we find ourselves inundated with new technologies.

A student broadcast journalist stands in front of a TV screen while another student runs a camera

Molecules + Medicines

Advancing the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of human disease.

A doctor in a KU hospital fixes the gloves she's wearing

Safety + Security

Developing new approaches to combat emerging threats and vulnerabilities.

Two researchers working in a lab look at a computer screen
Aerial view of University of Kansas campus in Lawrence, Kansas

Research Rising

KU is investing more than $12 million in four interdisciplinary projects that will address critical challenges facing humanity.

See what's on the horizon

Research impact

million in externally funded research expenditures in FY22
million in spending with Kansas companies on research goods + services
individuals supported by externally funded research expenditures

External awards

See what KU researchers are investigating by browsing summaries of recent externally funded awards.

Innovation impact

invention disclosures by KU researchers from 2018 to 2020
active startup companies created from KU research
license/option agreements executed for KU technologies in the past 3 years

Research rock stars

Many of our planet's major challenges are being addressed right here in Kansas by some of the world’s most distinguished scholars. Watch KU's University Research Awards ceremony to learn how their work is improving society.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging 

The Office of Research is committed to understanding and bettering our efforts to deal with the legacy of systemic racism on our campus, and to creating a welcoming, inclusive and equitable environment for women, LGBTQ+ individuals and other marginalized groups. Learn more about our efforts + commitment.

KU’s Racial Equity Research, Scholarship & Creative Activity Awards support members of our research and creative community as they apply their expertise to profound and persistent challenges related to attaining the goal of racial equity. Addressing disparities in the child welfare system, prioritizing racial equity in flood management, reclaiming the stories of displaced Black and Latinx communities, fostering understanding and acceptance of multiple ways of speaking in academic settings, and giving agency and power to Native people to tell their own stories are a few of the goals among the funded projects.