Commonwealth Research and Technology Strategic Roadmap Profile: Virginia Tech

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) is a public land-grant university serving the Commonwealth of Virginia, the nation, and the world community. Founded in 1872 in Blacksburg, Virginia, Virginia Tech has the largest number of degree offerings in Virginia, more than 125 campus buildings, a 2,600-acre main campus in Blacksburg, off-campus educational facilities in six regions, a study abroad site in Switzerland, and an 1,800-acre agriculture research farm near the main campus. The Blacksburg presence is complemented by a strong research presence in the Washington, D.C. metro area; located at 900 North Glebe Road, the Virginia Tech Research Center - Arlington is a seven-floor, 144,000-square foot facility incorporating next-generation Internet with direct fiber access to National LambdaRail, Internet 2, and multiple federal networks.

Dedicated to its motto "Ut Prosim" (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the Commonwealth's most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 215 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $450 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

The university ranked 41st in the nation in total research expenditures in FY2011 according to the National Science Foundation (NSF). Each year the university receives thousands of awards to conduct research from an ever-expanding base of sponsors. Researchers pursue new discoveries in agriculture, biotechnology, information and communication technology, transportation, energy management (including leadership in fuel-cell technology and power electronics), and a wide range of other engineering, scientific, social science, and creative fields.

Research and Innovation Strategic Plan

The following are excerpts from Virginia Tech's strategic plan, A Plan for a New Horizon: Envisioning Virginia Tech 2012-2018, pages 8-10, available online at

"The rapid pace of change is an opportunity to leverage the creativity and innovation that have always marked our best efforts and contributed the most to developing our reputation. This leveraging requires a focused effort on creating and supporting seamless networks where individuals and ideas can meet to spark creativity, collaboration, and innovation."

"In the spirit of our mission, we will contribute to business-, industry-, and policy-relevant research with a focus on multiple dimensions of security, resilience, health, and sustainability."

"Much of our research will continue to focus on various dimensions of national and local security; the resiliency of systems, organizations, communities, and ecosystems; the evolving health and medical enterprise; and local, regional, and global sustainability. Virginia Tech will contribute to national and local security through research programs in cyber security, food security, and the management and security of communication systems (such as wireless, networks, and smart grids) essential to future infrastructure needs. We will also build on our initiatives in the field of resiliency with an emphasis on the interface between science, technology, and policy. Resilience is construed here as the ability of an entity, such as an organization, organism, or system, to prepare and plan for, absorb, recover from, or more successfully adapt to actual or potential adverse, disruptive, and/or paradigm-shifting events. Research on resilience involves a broad spectrum of disciplines. Physicists and engineers study the resilience of complex systems, ecologists investigate the nuances of system stability and resilience of ecosystems, and social scientists from organizational theorists to urban planners view resiliency as a key element in understanding and planning for stability in communities of all sizes."

"The study of the brain and cognitive and behavioral sciences provides multiple high-impact opportunities for cross-disciplinary discovery, application, and implementation. From a strategic perspective, an emphasis on studying aspects of the mind and brain offers an opportunity to engage faculty from multiple colleges and institutes. Neuroscience research will also yield important findings that are relevant to many disciplines. Studying the complex interactions among genomic, environmental, and behavioral factors will require methods that are grounded in high-performance computing and networks capable of moving, processing, and storing enormous volumes of data. Virginia Tech's strengths in computational science and high-performance computing provide us with a unique opportunity to be leaders in this area of health-related research."

"Our increased capacity in health sciences, with the establishment of the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute and the affiliated School of Medicine, represents a significant opportunity to contribute to our mission. Additionally, Virginia Tech will leverage existing and emerging strengths in the following areas: energy, materials, and technology; water science, policy, and management; transportation and communication infrastructures; natural resources, ecosystem and environmental quality; informatics and policy; food and food systems; and sustainable international development. An increased capacity for data-intensive, high-performance computing - including geographic-information systems, visualization, and policy informatics - is crucial to facilitating advanced research in these areas."

"To ensure the continued success of our existing strengths, we will support growth in bioinformatics, nanotechnology, polymers, energy, transportation, and robotics research and scholarship."

Additional information regarding Virginia Tech's strategic priorities is available at the link above.

Key Contact Information

Colleges of Virginia Tech:

The Research Institutes of Virginia Tech enhance the university's ability to address large-scale research opportunities by crossing traditional disciplinary and college lines. The seven institutes provide clients access to world-class expertise across many disciplines and to the scientific and technical capability of specially equipped, advanced laboratories.