Toward a Better World
For more than 250 years, Rutgers has been reaching further, trying harder, and achieving bigger and better things. From the discovery of streptomycin, the first antibiotic used to treat tuberculosis, to the Rutgers Tomato, the university has given birth to bold projects that have made the world a better place. These innovations didn’t appear by magic. If every great achievement begins with an idea, it is also true that those ideas require resources, collaboration, and organizational support. Rutgers has used these ingredients time and time again. And the university is continuing the tradition with these signature initiatives.
In 2018, Rutgers issued a challenge to its 23,000 faculty and staff to produce their most imaginative, disruptive, and visionary proposals for inspiring widespread, equitable societal change. That challenge resulted in more than 200 collaborative ideas, ranging from cutting-edge cancer treatment to socially engaged art and sustainable urban farming. Forty teams went on to pitch their large-scale, forward-thinking projects at a symposium on October 4, 2019. Hundreds of community leaders, philanthropists, and innovators gathered to learn more about how Rutgers was applying its intellectual power to serve the common good. They offered their input to guide what came next.
In 2020, as much of the world turned inward in the face of COVID-19, the Rutgers community continued to move these initiatives forward. From those deliberations emerged 12 signature initiatives that advance Rutgers’ status as a world-class university devoted to the greater good. Driven by faculty and researchers across disciplines, divisions, and locations, the 12 interdisciplinary projects hold the potential to address critical issues of our day, such as public health, climate resilience, social justice, access to education, microbiomes, and artificial intelligence.
“These initiatives have the capacity to improve the human condition,” says President Jonathan Holloway. “By leveraging Rutgers’ standing as an academic, health, and research powerhouse, our university is poised to lead the nation and world toward a more just and sustainable future.”
Talent Has No Borders
Dreams Fulfilled will ensure that Rutgers maximizes the intellectual capital of New Jersey’s and the nation’s college-aged population by ensuring that all students—including more from underrepresented communities—have the resources and support to complete their degrees within four years, without significant debt, to prepare them for postgraduate success.
Intelligent Tools are Changing the World
Minds and Machines
Pushing the frontiers of science and responsible innovation for public good in the age of intelligent tools.
Duncan and Nancy MacMillan Cancer Immunology and Metabolism Center of Excellence
There’s no question that immunology is on the minds of researchers nationwide. But the Rutgers Cancer Institute has the opportunity to bring a new and unique perspective to the table and truly transform the landscape of cancer care for patients everywhere. Rutgers Cancer Institute is home to a world-class group of researchers studying cancer cell metabolism. The goal of the Duncan and Nancy MacMillan Cancer Immunology and Metabolism Center of Excellence is to grow and link the leading work at Rutgers Cancer Institute in cancer metabolism with new work in cancer immunology to improve and increase therapies available to patients; develop cutting-edge facilities to create and test new interventions; facilitate commercial and university collaborations; and end cancer as we know it.
Humanity has become a geological force, catalyzing climate and ecological crises that threaten Earth’s ability to support human well-being.
The Rutgers Crime Lab Unit
The Rutgers University Crime Lab Unit (RU-CLU), a Rutgers-based, multi-agency forensic lab, will provide shared, streamlined services for Camden County and other New Jersey stakeholders—a one-stop-shop for the region’s crime investigation needs. Our goal is to provide real-time forensic testing in the areas of fingerprinting, firearms identification, forensic toxicology and chemistry, trace evidence, DNA identification, and forensic anthropology. We also will partner with the Rutgers Innocence Project to provide investigative assistance to public defenders.
An Equity and Social Justice Approach
Advancing Urban Public Health
Newark, the state’s largest city, is the ideal location for creating an urban public health model that addresses the macro-determinants of health—how family, neighborhood, and community protect or undermine the health of a population—and for partnering with communities to design interventions to mitigate these social burdens.
Rutgers-Camden Innovation Community Hub: From Local to Global
The goal of the Rutgers Innovation Community Hub (RICH) is to develop, cultivate, and disseminate innovative entrepreneurial solutions that address sustainable socio-economic growth in underserved, vulnerable communities. The Hub is presented as a model that is structurally local, then grows and expands nationally through Rutgers–Camden’s multi-sectorial partnerships.
Rising to Challenges
Center for COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness
Despite our advances in medicine and research over the last century, we have no “seismograph” to predict the emergence of a new virus or pandemic precisely. But while we do not have a machine to see into the future, we can learn from the past and prepare now for what is to come.
Express Newark is a Big Idea, conceived as a university community arts center and incubator, a “third space,” where the university and community come together with equal voices and experiences. It is an institution in which art is valued for making spaces more creative, and for its ability to amplify marginalized voices, elevate critical issues, and foster community well-being and civic participation.
Restoring Vital Microorganisms
Rutgers University Microbiome Program
This Rutgers University Microbiome Program will strengthen Rutgers as a world leader in the emerging field of microbiome science for changing the health of current and future generations of humans.
The Rutgers Advanced Institute for the Study of Entrepreneurship and Development
As more people move to cities and the gap between rich and poor grows larger, urban areas are increasingly home to grand challenges of poverty, education, health, and nutrition. We study how entrepreneurs respond to resource constraints and structural disadvantages and create prosocial ventures that improve their communities and the circumstance of the people who live in them.