Partnerships for discovery

Research at Northeastern puts humans at the center, ensuring that tomorrow's discoveries in health, security, and sustainability meet human needs and aspirations.

  • External research funding

    research stat


    increase in external research awards since 2006

  • Lucas Almeida, PhD'21


    After his country's leaders were deposed amid scandal in 2014, Brazilian native Lucas Almeida wondered: Could technology be used to expose wrongdoing? At Northeastern, Almeida enrolled in the world's first PhD program in network science. In 2019, his third year, he joined the LEADERs Program, which challenges students to complete projects at organizations aligned with their research interests. At a startup, GoodLight, Almeida deployed his understanding of complex networks and the dark web to identify red flags for employee misconduct along different dimensions of risk. “Using quantitative and social-science skills,” Almeida says, “I hope to separate real from perceived risks, and bad guys from good.”

Human-centered innovation

Of Northeastern’s 8 interdisciplinary research institutes, 3 were announced in 2018–2019

  • Institute for Chemical Imaging of Living Systems

    At this institute, directed by Heather Clark, professor of bioengineering and chemistry and chemical biology, researchers are creating new technologies to view and track, in real time, important but currently undetectable biochemicals involved in relaying signals throughout the brain, nervous system, and body. The team's leading-edge imaging tools will shine a light on how diseases emerge and advance—or retreat in the face of treatment—and will also support a more personalized, targeted approach to drug therapies.

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  • Institute for Experiential Robotics

    This institute focuses on the development of robots for enriching collective human-robot experiences. Led by Taskin Padir, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, researchers aim to build safe, secure, and culturally sensitive robots to augment human abilities—whether assisting surgeons with an operation, fostering healthy aging in the home, or enabling Arctic Ocean exploration. Research teams investigate mobility, manipulation, and human-robot collaboration in uncertain environments.

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  • Institute for the Wireless Internet of Things

    Researchers here envision a continuum of AI-powered devices and networks wirelessly connecting people and their environment, from driverless cars and search-and-rescue drones to implantable medical devices and smart cities. The institute, led by Tomasso Melodia, professor of electrical and computer engineering, is home to world-leading expertise, facilities, technologies, and the project office for Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research, a $100 million public-private research effort to equip U.S. cities with advanced IoT testing grounds.

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Expanding a faculty
of innovators


tenured/tenure-track hires since 2006, including 45 in 2018–2019

‘Humanics’ integrated into teaching


    Artificial intelligence has an ethics problem. With a grant from Mozilla, three Northeastern professors are combining their expertise to solve it.

    Christo Wilson (left), an associate professor at the Khoury College of Computer Sciences, is working with Ron Sandler (right), philosophy and religion department professor and chair, and John Basl (center), an associate professor of philosophy and religion, to integrate moral principles into six AI-related courses based on the concept of values-sensitive design.

    The idea, Wilson says, is to train computer scientists to build ethical values—such as keeping data free of cultural bias—into their design process, whether they're creating a machine learning algorithm or a mobile app.


    Northeastern's urban informatics program teaches students how to apply data analytics to the challenges facing cities. It's the type of coursework that is central to humanics, says program director Dan O'Brien, an associate professor of public policy and urban affairs and director of the Boston Area Research Initiative. As one of Northeastern's informal “humanics ambassadors,” he says humanics education goes hand-in-hand with experiential learning and co-curricular activities because learning is better when it's done in a variety of contexts. “Getting involved at research centers and institutes on campus is an incredible way for students to get a feel for the skills they are learning,” he says, “especially in data science.”

An ecosystem for
human invention

Top 5

nationally for undergraduate entrepreneurship programs at U.S. universities, ranked by Entrepreneur Magazine and the Princeton Review


    Sophie Gechijian, SSH'16, couldn't find a nutrition bar that was healthy, tasty, and functional. So she started making her own and launched f(x) foods—“function foods”—in 2018. With a co-packer producing her bars at scale, she sells them in about 20 fitness studios, coffee shops, and boutique markets. At Northeastern, Gechijian got a boost from Mosaic, a network of student-led services that assist entrepreneurs. She received gap funding from the venture accelerator IDEA, while design studio Scout created the f(x) foods website and packaging, and the IP CO-LAB filed the trademark application for her company's name.


    Stephen Ng (right), who earned a master's degree in mechanical engineering in 2018, co-founded Mobile Pixels with two Massachusetts Institute of Technology alumni. The trio created DUO, a portable secondary monitor that works alongside any laptop to make multitasking easier and more efficient. Mobile Pixels won funding from IDEA, Northeastern's venture accelerator, and MIT's Sandbox Innovation Fund, and was a finalist in the 2018 MassChallenge Boston, a global business accelerator program.


    Matteo Rinaldi, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, and his research team— including PhD students Antea Risso (left) and Sila Deniz Calisgan—invented a fire detector with a sensor that will sleep for as long as 10 years until awakened by flames, without needing a battery recharge or replacement. The smart, alert, wireless system could safeguard forests, warehouses, even space crafts—anywhere it's costly or impractical to service batteries. Rinaldi launched his venture, Zepsor, with funding from Northeastern's Center for Research Innovation.