faculty in lab


Society’s grand challenges cross the boundaries between academic disciplines. Our faculty clusters program positions NC State to lead the search for solutions.

Interdisciplinary Innovation

In 2011, we launched the Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence Program (CFEP) to bring together the brightest minds in a range of academic disciplines and give them the support to tackle global issues. 

These clusters have added more than 75 new faculty members in 20 select fields to enhance the breadth and depth of our solution-driven research and innovation. In 2023, we added new strategic clusters to our growing interdisciplinarity initiatives on campus. These strategic clusters build on our historic strengths and the successes of our hiring process, but do so in a new way. We’re moving in a bold new direction that is shaping interdisciplinarity at NC State and throughout higher education.

I’m proud of NC State’s leadership in faculty clusters over the past decade. We are a model institution raising the bar for interdisciplinary research and education.

Chancellor Randy Woodson

The clusters program brings great momentum to the strategic goals outlined in Wolfpack 2030: Powering the Extraordinary. Our faculty’s work across academic disciplines empowers students for success, ensures our prominence as an R1 university, advances our engagement locally, nationally and internationally, elevates our innovative problem-solving and partnerships, and much more.

A Cross-Disciplinary Culture

Our faculty clusters, along with the new strategic clusters, are part of a deeply ingrained culture of interdisciplinary exploration at NC State. Many current clusters cemented longstanding collaborations. Our geospatial analytics cluster, for instance, grew from the Interdisciplinary Geospatial Analytics Initiative, which brought together faculty from computer sciences and the College of Natural Resources. Since becoming part of the first cohort of faculty clusters, geospatial analytics has evolved into the Center for Geospatial Analytics, which spans eight of the university’s colleges and 20 of its academic departments, and offers several interdisciplinary graduate degrees and graduate certificates.

We’ve made a significant investment in our clusters, hiring many new faculty members and creating an infrastructure to help them succeed.

Bringing in the Best

Our clusters, spanning NC State’s 10 colleges, have reshaped the academy while drawing millions of dollars in external research funding.

Learn more about our faculty clusters.

An Eye Toward the Future

Our faculty clusters represent a new approach to solving societal challenges. We’re building on teams of outstanding faculty and expanding an infrastructure that bolsters their efforts. 

Our strategic clusters differ from CFEP clusters in two ways: they are guided by a consideration of strategic opportunities, and they will require a higher percentage of funding from the colleges involved. 

We are also exploring the potential to use the cluster formation process to facilitate additional college-funded strategic clusters, particularly those that span multiple colleges. This expanded approach will allow for work with colleges on other strategic clusters, including those that are led by and primarily funded by colleges, but that nonetheless leverage the cluster hiring process.