Research at Stanford

Stanford research is remarkable in both its breadth and depth. Stanford research programs reflect the expertise, creativity and initiative of the faculty who set the research agenda. Stanford faculty have a long tradition of engaging with their colleagues and students within Stanford’s seven schools and working across disciplines.

There are more than 6,200 externally sponsored projects throughout the university, with the total budget for sponsored projects at $1.64 billion during 2017-18, including the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (SLAC). Of these projects, the federal government sponsors approximately 81 percent, including SLAC. Also, nearly $300 million in support comes from non-federal funding sources.

National research programs with centers at Stanford:

  • Departments of Plant Biology and Global Ecology of the Carnegie Institution for Science
  • National Bureau of Economic Research

Independent Laboratories, Centers and Institutes

Stanford has 18 independent laboratories, centers and institutes that provide a physical and intellectual intersection between schools and disciplines. These institutes are in line with Stanford’s longstanding tradition of crossing boundaries to tackle large problems, engaging faculty and their students in collaborations that range from international and economic studies to challenges facing the environment, energy and health. [Complete list of research centers]

Physical Sciences

  • Geballe Laboratory for Advanced Materials (GLAM), conducting research jointly with SLAC
  • E. L. Ginzton Laboratory
  • W. W. Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory (HEPL)
  • Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC), operated jointly with SLAC
  • PULSE Institute for Ultrafast Energy Science, operated jointly with SLAC
  • Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Sciences (SIMES), operated jointly with SLAC

Environmental Sciences

  • Precourt Institute for Energy
  • Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment

Humanities and Social Sciences

  • Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford (FSI)
  • Center for the Study of Language and Information (CSLI)
  • Stanford Center on Longevity (SCL)
  • Stanford Humanities Center (SHC)
  • Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR)
  • Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS)

Biological and Life Sciences

  • Spectrum, the Stanford Center for Clinical and Translational Research and Education
  • Stanford Bio-X, the interdisciplinary program related to bioengineering, biosciences and biomedicine
  • Stanford Chemistry, Engineering & Medicine for Human Health (ChEM-H)
  • Stanford Neurosciences Institute

Other special research centers

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory operated by Stanford. Research at SLAC addresses questions in chemistry, materials and energy sciences, bioscience, fusion energy science, high-energy physics, cosmology, advanced accelerator development and other fields. More than 2,700 scientists worldwide use the lab’s facilities each year, and more than 700 scientific papers are published annually based on research at SLAC—research that has earned four Nobel prizes.

The Hoover Institution, devoted to the study of domestic and international a airs, was founded in 1919 by Herbert Hoover, a member of Stanford’s Pioneer Class of 1895 and the 31st U.S. president. One of the first “think tanks” in the United States, the institution has more than 100 resident scholars/specialists.

Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve, located in the Santa Cruz foothills about 15 minutes from the main Stanford Campus, encompasses 1,200 acres and provides a natural laboratory for ecosystem research and teaching. Docent-led tours are offered to groups aligned with the preserve’s mission “to contribute to the understanding of the Earth’s natural systems through research, education, and protection of the preserve’s resources.”

Hopkins Marine Station opened in 1892 as the first marine research facility on the Pacific Coast and the second in the United States. Located on Monterey Bay, Hopkins is home to marine research and study by 11 faculty, staff, undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral students.

Post-Doctoral Scholars

Stanford’s thriving academic community includes more than 2,300 postdoctoral scholars across five schools. Postdocs contribute to the university’s research, education and clinical missions through creative and innovative research, mentoring, teaching, filing patents, creating software, and a multitude of other activities. 60% of postdocs are international, bringing perspectives from varied cultures and backgrounds to Stanford. In the last year, 20% of the 800+ postdocs who left Stanford went directly to academic careers and18% went to industry. A substantial number of the others will likely move to academia in the future. The University provides professional development programs through the Office for Postdoctoral Affairs, Biosci Careers, BEAM, and VPGE, which are geared to support growing independence and career transition.