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Research Culture

UMBC’s strength and success as a research university are founded on our signature approach to inclusivity in the scholarly process and our nimble responsiveness to a rapidly changing research climate. Our campus community enjoys a vibrant, interdisciplinary and collaborative culture supporting research, scholarship and creative achievement.  Many of our most successful and impactful research efforts are based on collaborations – across the campus, with other academic institutions and with outside partners.

Through many long-term strategic investments, UMBC has developed a culture that values undergraduate hands-on participation in mentored research activities alongside UMBC faculty, staff, postdoctoral fellows, Ph.D. students and Master’s students.  The faculty and administration recognize the inherent value of research in the education process, and this form of scholarship provides unique opportunities for students to investigate the unknown and discover new possibilities about their areas as well as themselves. We provide internally funded programs to ensure that undergraduates are included in research throughout their academic careers and that they are positioned to communicate and present their findings and contributions to others within their disciplines.

We also take pride in our inclusion and success of traditionally underrepresented groups, with innovative programs to ensure that women and underrepresented groups are positioned to reap the educational, research, and professional rewards that come from pushing the boundaries of human knowledge, even in the earliest stages of their studies. From undergraduate freshmen through senior faculty, UMBC believes in encouraging the development of all members of our community. Many of our most productive senior faculty members originally started their careers at UMBC as assistant professors.

As UMBC hires new faculty, invests in its physical research infrastructure, and develops new programs, we are mindful of our alignment to regional and national priorities, including health, national security, the environment, space, and advanced manufacturing. We have established ourselves as a research partner of choice for federal agencies, industry, nonprofits and other universities. UMBC is poised as a national leader in business incubation.

UMBC has a physical presence that stretches far beyond our main academic campus, including a highly successful business incubator called bwtech@UMBC; several UMBC research centers located at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; research and academic space in Shady Grove, Columbia, and in downtown Baltimore. We are conducting research across and beyond the planet, with a satellite designed and operated by UMBC now in orbit.

The geographic breadth of our research enterprise reflects the breadth of our research expertise, and we pride ourselves as much on our ability to bridge disciplines as our expertise within them. As a mid-sized institution with high research activity, we thrive in an environment where interdisciplinary teams are the norm. Our most successful research initiatives are frequently outcome focused and the result of unique collaborations across disciplinary boundaries.  Disciplinary diversity, alongside the other forms of diversity to which we have committed ourselves, affords UMBC research projects with a healthy range of perspectives. This signature trait makes our research not only more effective at asking and answering important questions, but also a more rewarding experience for everyone involved.  We clearly believe that the greatest advances come from diverse research teams working together and looking at questions from many different vantage points at once.  Moreover, research at UMBC serves to enhance and enrich our community, state, nation, and world.