Research Areas

Because no single discipline is able to address the complex problems facing our communities, Cornell CALS researchers collaborate across disciplines.

Our focus is to understand the systems that drive the human and natural worlds. We do this to promote the well-being of communities and to ensure access to sustainable food, energy and environmental resources.

Today’s scientific community is more interconnected than ever before, and bringing global challenges into focus takes more than one lens. That’s why we go beyond the silos of typical academic inquiry, taking a holistic view and concentrating on three overlapping areas of inquiry:

  • Understanding natural and human systems: We believe that achieving next-generation scientific breakthroughs requires an understanding of the world’s complex, interlocking systems.
  • Stewarding sustainable food, energy and environmental resources: We believe that access to nutritious food and a healthy environment is a fundamental human right.
  • Fostering social, physical and economic well-beingWe believe that ensuring a prosperous global future depends on the ability to support local people and communities everywhere.

By working in and across multiple scientific areas, CALS is able to address challenges and opportunities of the greatest relevance, here in New York, across the nation and around the world.

Three Lenses, One CALS

The world is complex and interconnected, and bringing global challenges into focus takes more than one lens. That’s why we focus on three overlapping spheres of inquiry:

Venn diagram of CALS research areas, showing natural and human systems overlapping with social, physical and economic well-being and sustainable food, energy, and environmental resources

Above: Explore CALS research projects within and at the intersection of our spheres of inquiry.