Cluster Initiative


At Lehigh University, we understand that that world is facing complex issues and problems that transcend individual disciplines and departments, and that challenge researchers across academia to work together to solve them.

Since its inception in 1865, Lehigh has embraced interdisciplinary research as a hallmark of its academic enterprise. Our first curriculum combined both classical education and the latest in contemporary technical and scientific knowledge.

Lehigh is continuing this tradition through the Cluster Initiative, which fosters collaboration through the development of small, cross-disciplinary disciplines and departments organized around a common intellectual theme, issue or area of interest. Together, these scholars can provide the critical mass necessary to cross new frontiers in teaching and research while addressing some of the world's most pressing problems.

The inaugural selected clusters -- Integrated Networks for Electricity and Africana Studies – were announced in April 2011. Later that year, the cluster initiative gained further momentum through the provision of seed funding for new cluster development proposals.

In all, 10 seed grants were awarded during the 2011-12 academic year for the following initiatives: Global Islamic Studies, Integrated Healthcare, Integrative Cognitive Neuroscience, Sustainable Development, Addressing Health Promotion through Prevention Science, Robotics, Asian Diaspora, Physics and Chemistry of Biological Systems, Community Health, and Digital Storytelling.

In mid-2013, the previous provost, Patrick Farrell announced the selection of the Community Health cluster.

Community Health

There is a growing recognition in the public health arena that a key to promoting and sustaining the health of populations is to understand the complex interplay between community members, their environments, and the healthcare system at the local level. more >

Integrated Networks for Electricity

Every year, the demand for energy increases around the world, along with concerns about cost, environmental impact and security. The development of “smart grids” that integrate a sophisticated information infrastructure with the power infrastructure will help meet this demand. more >

Africana Studies

The trans-Atlantic slave trade has permanently shaped many aspects of life in Africa and in the societies where people of African descent have settled. Any attempt to understand globalization, modern capitalism and the histories of Africa, the Americas and the world must include study of the slave trade and the African Diaspora. more >

Students working in a lab