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Areas of Research Strength at Boise State University

The success and vitality of Boise State’s growing research programs are listed below. Here, you’ll find fact sheets that highlight the university’s research strengths – areas where we have acquired the critical mass of faculty expertise, grant funding, private and public partnerships and innovative projects to make substantive impacts.

The linked fact sheets provide a brief explanation and summary of each of our research strengths, and also feature a few of the many Boise State faculty and students who are pursuing research in these exciting and diverse areas.

The Division of Research and Economic Development at Boise State has identified five areas of research strength. They include:

NOVEL MATERIALS: Novel materials research focuses on improving the performance of materials such as plastics, metals and ceramics by manipulating their structures to exhibit new properties for a wide range of products and applications. The development of novel materials with unique properties is critical to advances in industry, medicine, energy systems, microelectronics, aeronautics and many other fields.

SENSOR DEVELOPMENT: The ability to quickly and accurately detect trace amounts of chemicals, bacteria, radioactive materials or viruses in air, water or soil is key to addressing many security, environmental and health issues. Boise State is on the forefront of efforts to fabricate new sensors that measure specific physical or chemical conditions. They work by converting the measurement into an analog or digital signal that can be interpreted by users or by other instruments

NANOELECTRONICS AND INTEGRATED SYSTEMS: This research area could revolutionize how computers store information and open the doors to a broad range of new microelectronics products. Nanoelectronics is the technology of electronic devices on a nanoscale level, generally defined as between 1 and 100 nanometers in size. (A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter; a sheet of paper is about 100,000 nanometers thick.) At a nanoscale level, materials can exhibit unusual physical, chemical and biological properties that can be harnessed to develop electronic devices with new or expanded capabilities.

GEOCHEMISTRY AND GEOPHYSICS: Geochemistry involves investigation of the chemical composition of the Earth by using precise instrumentation and advanced methodologies to analyze samples. Geophysics uses physical principles to study properties of the earth, including the investigation of the shallow subsurface using non-invasive techniques such as sound, seismic and electromagnetics. This research has applications for everything from cleaning up oil spills and identifying the sources of surface water pollution, to understanding the consequences of climate change

HEALTH, PUBLIC AND ENERGY POLICY: Economic development, access to health care, strong civic leadership and a clean environment affect the quality of life for all Idahoans. Boise State oversees a broad array of research programs and services that provide policymakers, citizens and agencies with the information and skills they need to advance and protect the interests of our citizens. Policy research deals with the laws plans, actions and behaviors of government and with health resources and priorities.



Our research in these key areas is spurring the development of new technologies and products, the acquisition of new scientific knowledge to address a range of critical issues, and the formulation of studies that advance and protect the interests of the citizens of our state and nation.

In addition to our identified research strengths, our university has a number of emerging research strengths in areas such as Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education, biomedicine, hydrology and raptor biology. As Boise State continues its progress as a metropolitan research university of distinction, we look forward to expanding our list of research strengths in the years ahead.

Vice President for Research Mark Rudin

Why Identify Research Strengths?

Research Strengths provides a strategic focus for promoting the university’s research programs with diverse groups, from state officials to the media to businesses to prospective students to other universities. In a time of diminishing resources for higher education, this approach can also help set the strategic direction for the university by identifying which research programs have the most potential for significant impact and success in the years ahead. Promoting a university’s Research Strengths provides opportunities to recognize the outstanding work of faculty and staff. By providing a “window into the university,” Research Strengths can also inform the public about the importance of research in general and the overall excellence of the university.