About the Picker Interdisciplinary Science Institute Skip Navigation

About the Institute

The Picker Interdisciplinary Science Institute promotes collaborative research leveraging the value of Colgate's liberal arts alignment.

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Mission Statement

The mission of the Harvey Picker Interdisciplinary Science Institute at Colgate University is to foster the creation of new knowledge that is obtainable only through the development of sustained interdisciplinary research. The institute supports internal and external collaborations among Colgate faculty and their collaborators who bring expertise from disparate disciplines to bear on current and emerging scientific problems that remain intractable to the methods used within a single discipline.

The institute also encourages interdisciplinary approaches to learning through innovative curricular and research opportunities for students that may arise from the pursuit of interdisciplinary research projects.

Significance of Interdisciplinary Science

In the 21st century, the frontiers of scientific inquiry will increasingly be found at the boundaries of the traditional disciplines. The dynamic areas of environmental science, biophysics, planetary science, biochemistry, and nanoscience are examples of such interdisciplinary frontiers. To study complex systems, scientists will need expertise and the ability to forge collaborative relationships that span multiple disciplines. The preparation of future scientists must also be mindful of growing demands for increasingly broad training, as today’s students must be able to address tomorrow’s problems that will often lie at the frontiers and boundaries of science.

Colgate is well positioned to embrace new frontiers of discovery and learning. The institute's commitment to the promotion of interdisciplinary science on campus strengthens the university's standing as a leader in scientific inquiry and undergraduate science education. This was the goal of the institute's founder, Harvey M. Picker '36.



The primary goal of the institute is to enhance faculty scholarship in interdisciplinary areas leading to the generation of new knowledge. An important secondary goal is to encourage interdisciplinary approaches to learning. The actions of the institute are guided by these goals, and the additional objectives listed below:
  • An increase in interdisciplinary publications in peer-reviewed journals and an increase in professional presentations.

  • An increase in submission and success of extramural proposals, particularly collaborative proposals.

  • An increase in the percentage of newly enrolled students who indicate an interest in concentrating in the sciences and mathematics.

  • An increase in the number of students enrolled in science and mathematics courses, and in the number of graduating concentrators in the sciences and mathematics.

  • An increase in the number of science and mathematics graduates who pursue graduate and professional study.

  • An increase in interdisciplinarity in the science curriculum as measured by the introduction of new interdisciplinary science and mathematics courses.
In working toward these goals, the institute advances opportunities for high-quality faculty scholarship, facilitates communication and collaboration between Colgate faculty and experts at other institutions, and further raises the profile of research in the sciences and mathematics at Colgate.