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Innovative thinkers, makers, and problem solvers tend to flourish in an environment that supports and rewards rigorous, cross-disciplinary work at the cutting edge of discovery.

Building on the university’s current and historical strengths and seizing emerging opportunities in some of the most currently important multidisciplinary areas, WPI has developed five cross-cutting research areas as part of its new university-wide strategic plan.



WPI's research in health and biotechnology crosses multiple disciplines and embraces a wide range of focus areas—all with the goals of expanding our understanding of the living world and improving lives. From leading-edge work in tissue regeneration to building smart phone apps that help patients better manage their own health, researchers are exploring ways to apply knowledge from the life sciences to advance medical practice and improve healthcare outcomes.

Robotics Research Flipblock

WPI researchers are advancing the technology of robotics and cyberphysical systems and exploring applications for these technologies in a broad range of areas, from healthcare (MRI-compatible robots) to transportation (autonomous and connected vehicles). Having launched the nation’s first undergraduate program in robotics engineering in 2007, the university continues to pioneer advances and breakthroughs in the field.

advanced materials

WPI's multidisciplinary research program in materials science and engineering is motivated by the recognition that the nation’s future economic vitality will depend on the development of novel materials inspired by nature and more durable and sustainable materials for our nation’s infrastructure. Researchers are finding new technologies that make it possible to recover and reuse materials, and drive advanced manufacturing in a broad array of industries to fuel economic development and job creation. Traditionally a leader in all of these fields, WPI hosts several internationally known materials and manufacturing centers.


WPI is engaged in cybersecurity research that is addressing a host of security threats and critical policy issues. Researchers in data science are spearheading initiatives that use advanced tools, from data mining to machine learning, to bring insights to a broad range of fields. In fire protection engineering, faculty members and students are applying advanced experimental and computational techniques to address a wide range of fire safety issues in state-of-the-art facilities. All the efforts in this area are working toward a common theme—to keep us safer in a complicated world.

Graspable Math alt
Graspable Math

WPI researchers in learning sciences are pioneering new technologies and gaining new insights into how students learn, work that has the power to revolutionize the nation’s education system. With expertise in such areas as intelligent tutors, wearable learning technologies, gamification, and educational data mining, and with substantial funding from an array of federal agencies, research teams looking for powerful new ways to make learning and teaching more effective and more impactful.


WPI is host to a diverse portfolio of research institutes and centers, from leading international centers on materials, metals, and recycling, to healthcare delivery technologies, and fire safety innovations for first responders. These the facilities serve as critical points of convergence for the experience of WPI’s faculty and students.  See full listing of Institutes and Centers.