Skip to main content

Nature highlights ASU 'experiment'

April 30, 2007

The science journal Nature is taking a closer look at ASU’s recent growth and efforts to reshape the modern research university.

An article in the April 26 issue, written by Colin Macilwain, a reporter and editor for Nature based in Edinburgh, Scotland, highlights ASU’s focus on interdisciplinary research.

“The key to Crow's vision is to break away from the department-based model of most universities, and instead build up excellence at problem-focused, interdisciplinary research centres,” writes Macilwain.

“All of this is part of an overall picture that puts strong precedence on three things: high-quality, interdisciplinary research; access for large numbers of students from Phoenix's racially and socially diverse population; and relevance to the needs of the city and the region.”

The article specifically cites ASU efforts in Biodesign, sustainability and the School for Earth and Space Exploration as examples of how the university is working to change the traditional university model.

In addition to the article, Nature discusses in an editorial in the same issue, the future of the U.S. research university.

“But ASU's effort already tells us plenty about the likely direction of the research university in the up-and-coming regions of America. The university of the future will be inclusive of broad swaths of the population, actively engaged in issues that concern them, relatively open to commercial influence, and fundamentally interdisciplinary in its approach to both teaching and research.”

Nature is the world’s foremost weekly scientific journal, read by more than 300,000 senior scientists and executives around the world. In the last half-century, more than 275 Nobel Prize winners have published over 1,700 articles in its pages.

To read the full text of the article, visit

For the full text of the editorial, visit