Research Areas

We're leading the charge with research in cross-cutting thematic areas.

Complex problems require complex solutions. From improving human health to ensuring food security, protecting the environment, strengthening our communities, and more, we're conducting research that transcends scientific disciplines to arrive at real-world solutions.

Read more about research in each of these areas in our latest report of accomplishments and results to the USDA.

Advancing Agricultural and Food Systems

To meet coming challenges of climate change and increasing human population, agriculture must reduce its required inputs of energy, water, and chemicals while simultaneously increasing crop productivity and producer profitability and improving soil health.

Developing Biologically Based Materials and Products

Our researchers will help to meet the promise of sustainable clean energy, beneficial reuse of agricultural waste, and income generation through new, value-added bioproducts to support struggling rural economies. Research commercialization and industry engagement are increasingly important as we seek real-world solutions that work.

Building Community Resilience and Capacity

Communities need to build greater resiliency to natural and economic disasters; diversify their economies; restore and sustain robust infrastructure; increase the efficiency of community support systems; and identify and implement cost-effective policies.

Promoting Environmental Resilience

Society faces increasingly challenging environmental issues as the effects of climate change intensify; the human population grows; water, food, and energy supplies tighten; and land use change and urbanization limit our options.

Supporting Integrated Health Solutions

Climate change is already affecting the areal extent of some human and livestock diseases and parasites and how they spread, and this is expected to intensify. Decreased access to clean water and healthy food poses health risks. We are making gains in food safety and learning more about the microbiome that we can use to promote health.

Departmental Research

Office for Research and Graduate Education


217 Agricultural Administration Building
University Park, PA 16802-2600