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Research & Innovation

Centers & Institutes

Displays insider the Centers & Institutes building

The more than 50 centers and institutes at DU do highly focused research and scholarship. They bring industry and the government together with the top researchers in a specialized field to find solutions to pressing problems.

DU's centers and institutes span the academic and professional fields. Their work ranges from finding treatment for genetic disorders and addressing pressing social problems such as human rights abuses to re-examining the effectiveness of the American legal system and more.

Here are just a few examples of the centers and institutes at DU.

Aerosol Research Group

Instruments created by the University of Aerosol Research Group have ridden on NASA flights and collected data in regions around the world, including Antarctica and the North Pole.

The group develops and uses instruments to study aerosols - defined as any collection of particles suspended in gas. The research team has investigated everything from volcanic dust to urban pollution to global warming.

DU engineers working with the research group have studied rocket plumes, power plant emissions and stratospheric ozone depletion. Findings from this research have been published in the Journal of Geophysical Research and other periodicals, as well as several books.

Contact: J.C. Wilson, professor and chairman of engineering

Barton Institute for Philanthropy and Social Enterprise

The Institute addresses major social issues and improves society by promoting and enhancing traditional and new forms of philanthropy, social enterprise, and partnerships among the private, public, nonprofit, and academic sectors.

Contact: David Miller, Executive Director

Butler Institute for Families

The Butler Institute for Families is a nationally recognized resource for education, consultation and research. It works to benefit children, parents, families and those that work with them.

Training programs run by the Institute reach as far as Bermuda and cover a variety of topics. They serve as a platform of proficiency for caseworkers, professionals as well as foster and adoptive parents.

The Institute conducts numerous research and program evaluation initiatives such as projects to prevent youth violence and to create better post-adoption services. Through its program and curriculum development, the Butler Institute is helping to create a positive impact social work and the people that it affects.

Contact: 303-871-4174

The Cable Center

The Cable Center aims to educate the public and commemorate the industry by celebrating cable television's contributions to society.

The Center houses the Barco Library, which contains the world's largest collection of cable-centered books, magazines and other publications.

Contact: 303-871-7931

Center for China-United States Cooperation

The Center for China-United States Cooperation seeks to achieve greater partnership as well as solutions to the mutual disagreements of these global giants.

Since its founding in 1998, the Center has worked to hold discussions about U.S.-China relations outside of the conventional diplomatic vocabulary. English-speaking professors from China often come to teach classes at DU's Korbel School of International Studies.

Faculty are encouraged to engage in joint research projects and a list of publications are available on its website. The Center has also launched China's first English-taught MA program in international studies.

Through its original research and community immersion and integration, the Center for China-United States Cooperation seeks to achieve positive developments in the fundamentally important relationship of these two states.

Contact: 303-871-2456

Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning

The Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning supports all of DU's efforts to benefit the public good and works to integrate community service throughout the community. The center cultivates a number of service opportunities for students, including overseeing the Alternative Break program, maintaining a database of volunteer positions available, coordinating community work-study positions, and helping faculty incorporate service learning into their courses. The center also offers Engaged Students Grants, which fund service projects developed by students.

DU faculty and staff can request Public Good Grants to fund their public service projects-- research into homelessness, for example. And faculty, staff and students are all welcome to take part in the university-wide service projects the center organizes, such as the annual DU Volunteer Days.

Contact: 303-871-2939

Center for Judaic Studies

The Center for Judaic Studies (CJS) is focused on advancing knowledge of Jewish history, thought and culture.

Through community events and university activities, the CJS explores Jewish traditions and their evolution as well as their impact on history, literature, philosophy and religion.

The Center for Judaic Studies offers several undergraduate, graduate and audit classes that provide a view of different components of Judaism and the varied experiences of the Jewish people.

The Center's course listings offer over 35 distinctive opportunities including lectures and seminars that are open to the public.

Contact: 303-871-7731

Center for Multicultural Excellence

The Center for Multicultural Excellence presents a series of workshops, lectures and annual events that foster diversity education and understanding. By maintaining a close relationship with students, faculty and alumni, they make a positive impact throughout campus and the community.

The Center offers consulting on diversity and LGBTIQA issues that arise in daily life or in the classroom. Also, the University of Denver Diversity Summit brings many well-known scholars to campus to address selected topics. The Center also holds a leadership retreat for graduate and undergraduate students to encourage diversity education and self-discovery.A complete list of services and recourses is maintained on the center's website.

Contact: 303-871-7661

Center on Human Rights Education

The Center on Human Rights Education (formaly the Center on Rights Development) uses many avenues to study, promote, and protect human rights around Denver and the world. By conducting original research, creating relationships with other human rights organizations and connecting with the local community, the Center has made a significant impact.

Students and faculty are encouraged to get involved through the Center's three action committees that use the arts, policy and community to advocate for change. COHRE hosts a symposium each spring, such as the 2017 Symposium on Exploring Sustainability in the Informal Economy.

Contact: 303-871-6286

Center for the Study of Europe and the World

The Center for the Study of Europe and the World is one of the latest additions to DU's bustling world of centers and institutes. It will look at Europe and the European Union, their role in the world, and their interactions with global actors as well as their policies.

Its goals will be achieved through a number of research projects including its support of MA and PhD students studying the field. The Center will also host an annual conference and is working on a publication and policy briefing series.

Contact: 303-871-3811

Conflict Resolution Institute

The 21st Century has encouraged governments, businesses, individuals and other groups to seek out cooperation instead of conflict. The Conflict Resolution Institute works to create a setting where the issues surrounding this new field can be explored in order to discover ways to end, de-escalate and ultimately prevent conflict.

The Institute draws from a variety of disciplines including human communications, management and international relations to create new ways of dealing with discord. It is also home to an MA program that gives students hands-on experience in mediation.

Hosting an annual conference and array of speakers as well as creating research projects, the Conflict Resolution Institute is making headway in a field that has plagued humanity since its creation.

Contact: 303-871-2418

DU Latin@ Center for Community Engagement and Scholarship (DULCCES)

The DU Latin@ Center for Community Engagement and Scholarship advances critical interdisciplinary research, scholarly and creative work, and curricular development related to the historical, political, cultural and intellectual legacy of Latin@s. The DU Latin@ Center plays a critical role in the creation and dissemination of knowledge and understanding about the Latin@ experience at the national and international levels.

Through its varied scholarly and cultural activities and events, DULCCES promotes a vision rooted in social justice and equity and is an essential participant in a cultural and intellectual process of empowerment and transformation. DULCCES seeks to promote excellence in scholarship and teaching to reflect the cultural experiences of Latinos across the globe.

Contact:, 303-871-3196

Estlow International Center for Journalism and New Media

The Estlow International Center for Journalism and New Media explores the ways in which traditional roles of journalism are changing in the digital age.

The Center explores how these new forms of media are affecting communication and encourages the advancement of knowledge.

Through their innovative work , practical advice, and big-picture perspective, Estlow has become a focal resource for exchange and discussion among journalists and all defenders of free speech.

Contact: Lynn Schofield Clark, director, 303-871-3984

Geographic Technology Applications Center (GTAC)

The Geographic Technology Applications Center brings together an array of experts to gather, track and evaluate data. GTAC researchers analyze trends in land management, population and demographics to help organizations make better-informed decisions.

Faculty at the center work on data applications and modeling that can help businesses find viable new retail locations, for example, or help local governments distribute emergency response teams.

GTAC's 4,300-square-foot on-campus facility includes specialized labs designated for GIS instruction, laptop computing, crime mapping and analysis, aerial photography, cartography, and other projects.

Researchers regularly work in fields such as homeland security, law enforcement and urban planning, as well as spatial data analysis, digital mapping and 3-D representations of events.

Contact: Steven Hick, director of GTAC, geographic information systems director

Human Trafficking Center

The Human Trafficking Center is made up of both faculty and students from a number of different disciplines ranging from women's studies to international disaster psychology to human rights.

As an academic institution, it publishes original research and acts as a policy advisor to many local and international groups including the U.S. Department of State and the International Organization on Migration. As a student group, it seeks to raise awareness around this important human rights and immigration issue.

Currently, the Task Force is seeking to organize an international conference in conjunction with other international universities and institutions that will further influence policy and understanding in the field.

Contact: 303-871-6286

Institute for Human-Animal Connection

Animals are known to have a remarkably therapeutic effect on people and the Institute for Human-Animal Connection does research and training to improve the ways in which animals are used in social work. It also advocates for their ethical treatment.

The Institute has a focus on animal-assisted intervention (AAI), where animals are used in social work settings under a number of conditions. By offering three specialized certificates through DU's Graduate School of Social Work, the institute is creating a new generation of graduates committed to using animals in their work.

The institute also consults independently with companies and nonprofits to assess program needs, implementation and effectiveness. One current project evaluates Youth and Pet Survivors (YAPS), a program that links children with cancer to dogs with cancer.

Contact: 303-871-3833

Institute for Public Policy Studies

The mission of the Institute for Public Policy Studies is to transform students into tomorrow's public policy leaders. The Institute focuses on maintaining and innovating DU's public policy curriculum.

Many IPPS faculty members have been prominent political figures. The faculty includes former Colorado governors Richard D. Lamm and Bill Owens.

Contact: 303-871-2468

Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System

IAALS, the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, is a national, independent research center dedicated to continuous improvement advancing excellence in the American legal system.

The institute's mission is to forge innovative and practical solutions to problems in our system in collaboration with the best minds in the country.

We envision a legal system that is fair, accessible, reliable, efficient and accountable and therefore inspires trust.

Contact: 303-871-6602

Interdisciplinary Research Incubator for the Study of (In)Equality (IRISE)

The Interdisciplinary Research Incubator for the Study of (In)Equality is designed to provide opportunities and support for faculty and students to engage in the development of cutting edge interdisciplinary research on issues of inequality, social justice, and inclusivity with a central focus on topics related to race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, disability, veteran status and religion.

By enabling and intensifying the University of Denver’s ability to develop new ideas, raise novel questions and generate meaningful answers on the vexing questions of inequality, IRISE will work to establish a needed intellectual structure for students and faculty that will (1) facilitate the interdisciplinary teaching and learning, collaboration, research, scholarship, and creative works that seek to promote equality in historically underrepresented communities, and (2) develop, support, and implement academic programs and activities that seek to promote the advancement of historically underrepresented populations in the Academy.


Knoebel Institute for Healthy Aging

The Knoebel Institute for Healthy Aging (KIHA) is a new multi-disciplinary institute on the University of Denver campus with a vision to improve the quality in life, wellness and community.

The Institute creates and implements solutions for aging issues through multidisciplinary research, education and outreach. The Institute collaborates with other academic institutions, corporations, NGOs, government, philanthropic partners, healthcare providers and policy makers to develop new solutions to complex problems involving aging. KIHA serves as an information clearinghouse for media on matters related to aging. KIHA educates and trains a diverse workforce to serve a rapidly aging population. KIHA promotes innovation, research and business development related to aging.


Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy

The Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy (MIELL) is a research and social policy institute dedicated to improving learning environments and outcomes for children, birth to age 8.

The Marsico Institute identifies the best in early learning research, practice, and policy, and delivers that information "just in time" to academics, practitioners, policymakers, and parents: the people who can create and implement changes to improve the lives of young children. The center focuses on early childhood because more than 93% of brain development occurs before the age of five. The quality of relationships and learning opportunities that young children experience can set the stage for what they will be able to accomplish throughout the rest of their lifetimes.

Contact: 303-871-3828

Office of Teaching and Learning (OTL)

The Office of Teaching and Learning has a large focus on bringing technology into the classroom and making it user-friendly. With opportunities for faculty development as well as funding for teaching and learning projects, the office is changing the DU classroom.

Each year, the office runs a new faculty orientation to introduce professors to DU's extensive technical resources and options for classroom advancement such as Canvas, the portfolio community and the visual art gallery application. They also offer a OneNewThing mini-grant program and an online teaching resource guide to empower DU professors to explore and implement new teaching methods.

The Center has been given a number of awards and been recognized for its programs and opportunities that make technology accessible and useful for DU students and faculty.

Contact: 303-871-2993

Project Xite

University of Denver's Project X-ITE brings all the resources of the university together to advance knowledge, understanding and engagement at the intersection of innovation, technology and entrepreneurship across the DU community, the region and the world.

Project X-ITE at the University of Denver is quickly becoming a force in The Front Range’s entrepreneurial community. Project X-ITE puts into action one of the transformative directions of DU IMPACT 2025, our new strategic plan, to fully leverage the university’s assets in the discovery and design of knowledge and engagement. Project X-ITE is making DU one of Colorado’s major innovation centers and a central hub for transforming ideas into projects, products and businesses as well as for experiential learning focused on entrepreneurial work.

Building on the University’s reputation for excellence, Project X-ITE is a campus- wide initiative that convenes voices across fields and industries to foster entrepreneurship. Students are integrally involved in Project X-ITE, including in the Xperiment program that puts teams comprised of faculty, staff and students to work on projects that offer real world collaborative experience and have potential to launch viable businesses. Experiences with Project X-ITE better prepare these students for careers, providing them with experience on cross-disciplinary teams, exposing them to problem solving, and inspiring them to create career paths that change the world.

Relationship Center

The goal of the Relationship Center is to study relationships in order to improve them. A research center in the Psychology Department, psychologists have studied the relationships children and adolescents have with their friends, parents, siblings and romantic partners.

Based on the research, DU psychologists have developed Project STAR. Project STAR is in more than 60 Denver schools and helps teens improve peer relationships. The Center's research is sponsored by the National Institute of Health. DU students and faculty also conduct workshops to help teachers and other professionals find ways to improve relationships of children and adolescents.

Contact: 303-871-3806

Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society

The objective of the Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society is to preserve the history of Judaism in the West.

The historical society is home to the renowned Beck Archives, which contain more than 1 million documents, including manuscripts, oral histories, newspapers, microfilm and more than 5,000 photos.

The Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society often hosts exhibits at area museums and lectures by esteemed academics, and field trips to places of Judaic interest.

Contact: 303-871-3016

Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute

The way land is allocated and used is a vital issue in the Rocky Mountain West and around the world. The Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute at the Sturm College of Law provides a forum for discussing land-related legal and policy issues in the West. The group encourages dialog through its interdisciplinary conferences, workshops, research projects and publications addressing land use and development.

The institute is best known for its annual land use conference, which was first held in 1992. More than 700 people now attend the event each year, making it the largest land-use law conference in the country.

Strategic Issues Panel

Each year the University of Denver convenes a non-partisan panel of citizens to examine an issue of particular importance to the people of Colorado. The Strategic Issues Panels reflect the University's commitment to support the public good and affirm DU's values of informed civil discourse, intellectual freedom, open communication and rigor.

The goal is to raise the visibility of important issues with the media, legislators and the public and to develop thoughtful recommendations that reflect the collective insight of panel members. This is achieved through an open process of informed discourse and consensus-based decision making.

Contact: 303-871-3003

The Spirituals Project

Spirituals are songs that were sung by slaves to heal, uplift and inspire during times of trouble. Today, The Spirituals Project is keeping the music alive through education, outreach and several performing ensembles.

The Spirituals Project hosts an annual film and concert series, lectures, workshops and other events to boost public knowledge and understanding of this valuable music form. They also run a youth outreach program that visits elementary, middle and high schools as well as universities to stimulate the powerful and important wisdom of African American history and tradition. By promoting community involvement, multicultural advancement and historical preservation, the Spirituals Project is giving future generations the gift of spirituals and its legacy.

A list of upcoming events can be found on the Lamont School of Music calendar.

Contact: 303-871-7993

Transportation Institute

The Transportation Institute is working to promote the development of a seamless, sustainable global transportation system for passengers and freight. The group is creating and strengthening partnerships with industry, government and the public so they can work together.

Working closely with other universities and institutes, the center serves as a "think and do tank" that crosses academic lines. Institute faculty come from the fields of business, chemistry, economics, education, engineering, geography and more.

The Institute combines its faculty expertise with a board of directors made up of international leaders in the transportation industry. The Institute is also developing a Colorado Advisory Council to focus on local issues.

Together, Institute faculty and board members research transportation issues and advocate for sustainable transport. The Institute also offers an interdisciplinary master's degree in Intermodal Transportation Systems.

Undergraduate Research Center

The Undergraduate Research Center works to get undergraduates involved in original scholarship, research and creative activities, which students do with the help of a faculty partner.

One of the center's hallmark programs is Partners in Scholarship (PINS). PINS gives students a rare opportunity to work on an original research or creative project. With help from faculty partners, students design and execute an in-depth project. Projects chosen for PINS funding can receive up to $1,500 each quarter to cover expenses such as books, software, lab equipment or travel.

Undergraduates can also apply for support from the center's also summer research grant program, which offers up to $3,500 per project to fund collaborative work between students and faculty. Students who need to travel to complete research or to attend an academic conference can request up to $1,500 from the Student Scholar Travel Fund. The center also gives undergraduates the opportunity to publish their research in Symposium: A Journal of Undergraduate Scholarship and to present at DU's annual undergraduate research conference.

Contact: 303-871-2871

Ved Nanda Center for International and Comparative Law

The Ved Nanda Center for International and Comparative Law works across disciplines to focus on real-life issues in public and private international law.

The Nanda Center fosters life-long learning and collaborates across disciplines with DU's Daniels College of Business and Josef Korbel School of International Studies, as well as other institutions. Along with promoting scholarship and discussion of international law, the center will host programs for lawyers, students and community members.

The center, which is part of the International Legal Studies program at the Sturm College of Law, is named for Ved Nanda, the director of international legal studies at DU. It was launched with a gift from one of his former students.