University of Iowa

Current Clusters

Meeting the Grand Challenges of the 21st Century: The University of Iowa Cluster Hire Initiative


As one of the premier research institutions in the nation, The University of Iowa is committed to advancing knowledge and education through discovery, application, and creative work. Many of today’s most exciting and important research frontiers transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries. If we are to maintain and strengthen our research and creative excellence, we must facilitate multidisciplinary scholarship, instruction, and public service. This is the aim of the cluster hire initiative. As a centerpiece of our 2010-2016 strategic plan, Renewing the Iowa Promise: Great Opportunities—Bold Expectations, the cluster initiative will bring 100 new tenured and tenure-track faculty to campus to collaborate with existing faculty in multidisciplinary cluster areas focused on many of the “Grand Challenges” of the 21st century.


The primary objectives of the Cluster Hire Initiative are to:

  • Address important scientific and/or societal challenges
  • Promote multidisciplinary research, scholarship, and creative work
  • Advance undergraduate and graduate teaching and learning
  • Enhance community engagement and service
  • Benefit the people of Iowa and beyond


White Paper Assessment of UI Cluster Hire Initiative, Fall 2012

In the spring of 2012 the Office of the Provost and the collegiate deans requested that Associate Provost for Faculty Tom Rice produce a brief white paper on the state of the clusters, in order to recommend improvements to the cluster hire guidelines and suggest best practices to help ensure the success of the clusters. This white paper is based primarily on interviews with cluster leaders, cluster steering committee members, faculty members hired into the clusters, and the DEOs of cluster hire faculty. The cluster five-year plans were also consulted.

Campus communications about the initiative