The Hybrid Vigor Institute is focused on producing innovative,
integrated knowledge in four distinct program areas. The knowledge
we produce in these areas will be housed on our working research
Earth Systems. Earth Systems brings a fresh outlook
to environmental topics, ranging from the genetic modification of
organisms to climate change and sustainability, as well as other
global concerns. Although interdisciplinary work has found far greater
acceptance here, the density and complexity of these problems present
the opportunity for a new approach even within the environmental
research community's broader purview.
Some of the topics explored will include the study of how artifacts
of modern industrial culture affect the global environment; others
will explore a single natural phenomenon from the perspective of
the several disciplines which study it.
In addition, this program area will track questions within the
burgeoning new interdisciplinary area of astrobiology, which explores
the origins of life on earth and beyond from the perspective of
a dazzling number of disciplines, including biology, genetics, paleontology,
geology, geochemistry, biochemistry, astrophysics, astronomy and
Health Determinants. Health Determinants moves beyond
medicine and medical research, pushing at the edges of several disciplines
and alternative and complementary approaches, in order to connect
and interweave the physical, psychological and social determinants
of health in a broad range of fields ranging from genetics to psychology
and public policy.
Some of the questions to be addressed within this program area
will be related to such topical and multi-disciplinary subjects
as risk and regulation in a post-genome world, addiction, infertility,
obesity, and mitigating the effects of poverty on human health around
Another important aspect of Health Determinants will be the growing
body of research in several disciplines in the area of mind-body
interactions, which explores several important open questions, including
the study of the effects of emotions on health, the placebo effect,
sleep research and the mechanisms which influence human learning.
Human Perception. Already a growing area of interest
for industry-academic partnerships in biotechnology, Human Perception
will explore the wide range of creative, rigorous and potentially
lucrative research being done by many disciplines on virtually all
the senses vision, hearing, touch, smell, taste as
well as other ways of knowing. This program will also investigate
subjects which are influenced by human perceptive capabilities,
such as intelligence, memory, time and our ability to process information.
Positive popular response to biomedical research and development
has made it clear that there is great interest in augmenting or
replacing human capabilities and perception by artificial and/or
This area of inquiry encompasses biology, neurology, physiology,
experimental and cognitive psychology, sociology, psychophysics
and others, including as well important work done by artists and
gifted amateurs most of whom, to date, do not communicate
with each other.
Interdisciplinary Practice. The work of this program
area is the raison d'etre of the Hybrid Vigor Institute. To date,
there has been very little focused inquiry regarding the components
and factors that drive interdisciplinary projects to success or
The goal of the Interdisciplinary Practice program area, then,
is to make explicit what works and what does not work for interdisciplinary
research. We will do so by various means, including the development
of methodologies and measurements for conducting interdisciplinary
work, as well as chronicling examples and case studies and conducting
social network analyses on a wide range of projects in private
as well as public sector organizations and universities which
cross disciplinary boundaries.
Our commitment to this program area springs from the knowledge
that a new methodology is critical in an era where the complexity
of problems has overwhelmed traditional, disciplinary methods for
solving them. While the potential for "being interdisciplinary"
is enormous, the reality is that few researchers have the knowledge
or the tools to approach a problem using interdisciplinary methods
even given the ubiquity of global networks which now allow
researchers to connect, rather than protect, the knowledge they
Visit hybridvigor.net for Hybrid Vigor publications
and resources connected with these program areas.