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SFU Strategic Research Plan 2016-2020

Strategic Research Plan

Simon Fraser University's 2016-2020 Strategic Research Plan builds on its strengths and successes, and positions the university to continue to grow its capacity in research and knowledge mobilization.

See our plan

The Opportunities Ahead

The Strategic Research Plan identifies six priority research challenges that are designed to push the limits of discovery and knowledge mobilization and deliver impactful breakthroughs. Success in tackling these challenges rests on the ability to draw from fundamental research—the backbone of SFU's research endeavours—and applied research.

Challenge 1: Addressing environmental concerns and creating a sustainable future.

Challenge 2: Understanding our origins.

Challenge 3: Supporting health across the human lifespan. 

Challenge 4: Strengthening civil society by advancing justice, equity and social responsibility.

Challenge 5: Enhancing our world through technology.

Challenge 6: Transforming the landscape of teaching and learning. 


How We'll Get There

1. Strengthen areas of research excellence.

2. Seamlessly connect our research to our partners.

3. Increase our impact on the national and international stage.


Research clusters

We have developed particular strengths that have led to the establishment of four strong research clusters. These clusters provide platforms that enable researchers to tackle large crosscutting challenges, while creating and capitalizing on distinct advantages for global leadership. 



Big data

The acceleration of data-intensive applications in fields as diverse as medicine and the humanities makes big data a top priority in the research arena, and SFU is well positioned to capitalize on this demand.


Health and technology solutions

Understanding the full context of human health and wellness—influenced by areas such as development and aging; mental health, brain health and disease; personalized medicine and drug development; demography, policy, economics, and management; the life sciences; computation and design; nanotechnology; robotics; and innovation—enables us to create technology-driven solutions to advance healthcare.


New materials and technology for sustainability

As a society we must urgently reduce greenhouse gas emissions while at the same time respond to the growing demand for energy. Facilities like 4D LABS have helped position SFU as a globally recognized leader in the development of emerging renewable, clean and energy efficient technologies, particularly in the fuel cell science and technology fields.


Community-engaged research

Community-engaged research builds on SFU’s strong tradition of engagement. It promotes principles of participation, cooperation, empowerment and knowledge translation to lift up and strengthen the capacity of SFU’s researchers and students to engage respectfully and ethically with community members.