We are bridging barriers between fundamental knowledge and real-world problems by connecting disciplines, techniques, and ways of thinking.
Learn More
Bridging Barriers
We are bridging barriers between fundamental knowledge and real-world problems by connecting disciplines, techniques, and ways of thinking.

Image courtesy of the School of Architecture

Learn More
Bridging Barriers

A Grand Challenges Initiative

"The toughest questions facing humanity and the world cross the boundaries of existing knowledge, and we must take an interdisciplinary approach to address them . . . Breakthroughs happen when we break down silos of knowledge. And we are doing that now."

President Gregory L. Fenves

In his 2016 State of the University address, President Fenves introduced Bridging Barriers, a university-wide grand challenges initiative that brings together experts from across the 40 acres to address pressing problems facing Texas, the nation, and beyond. With the launch of Planet Texas 2050, The University of Texas at Austin now stands shoulder-to-shoulder with research institutions from around the world that are dedicated to working in new ways and across academic disciplines to respond to major environmental and humanitarian crises.

UT Austin’s grand challenges are imagined, designed, and driven by university faculty and researchers, and through Bridging Barriers they aim to accelerate collaboration across disciplines; promote fundamental research that thrives in an environment based on academic freedom; set the stage for practical solutions to problems that are critical for the world and that will engage our society in the coming decades; and address problems in humanities and social sciences to enrich and deepen our experiences of the world around us.

Because What Starts Here Changes the World.

Bridging Barriers is funded and supported by the Office of the Vice President for Research, the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, and the Office of the President.

The university will launch a new grand challenge each year. If you’re a UT researcher and would like to participate in or stay informed about upcoming themes, please visit the internal Bridging Barriers webpage (EID required).