Research Strengths

York University is a leader in research that crosses disciplinary boundaries. York’s strategic research plan, Building on Strength, describes six intersecting themes, providing a vision for accelerating the growth and development of research, scholarship and creative activity at York. The six themes are:

• Advancing Fundamental Discovery and Critical Knowledge;

• Analyzing Cultures and Mobilizing Creativity;

• Building Healthy Lives and Communities;

• Exploring the Frontiers of Science and Technology;

• Forging a Just and Sustainable World;

• Integrating Entrepreneurial Innovation and the Public Good.

Each theme encompasses a broad segment of scholarship and research excellence at York, building on the core strengths that form the basis for York University’s recognition as a leading Canadian research institution. We are fully committed to fostering the ongoing development and support of research and scholarship across these themes.

Photo of The iconic Vetruvian Man by Leonardo da VinciAdvancing Fundamental Discovery and Critical Knowledge

Research at York begins with appreciating the importance of fundamental inquiry and creative scholarship.  Whether in the humanities, social sciences, fine arts, natural sciences or beyond, pure research is emphasized across a large sector of York's research enterprise.  The promotion of critical scholarship that challenges our assumptions and that questions our values helps us to understand the world as we see it today, and it helps us to transform it into the better place we envision for tomorrow.

Picture of coloured molecules superimposed on human brainAnalyzing Cultures and Mobilizing Creativity

York is widely recognized as a major contributor to the advancement of creative work and scholarship in arts and culture in Canada. The vitality and diversity of our innovative research and creative scholarship places us as an emerging global leader in cultural production and creative research.  York's research in the areas of culture and creativity spans an extensive spectrum of disciplines and influences a range of social, cultural and technological development in the public, private and non-profit sectors.  This interdisciplinary research draws on internationally leading expertise that can be found at the intersection of arts and digital technologies.

Picture of grandfather with granddaughterBuilding Healthy Lives and Communities

York supports an impressive range of health research and associated expertise that is focusing on improving health outcomes and bridging new knowledge and applications to improve the understanding, prevention and treatment of disease and injuries. This theme encompasses the study of health, from age-related ailments and disease prevention, through cognitive and physical health, to the influence of income inequality, the social determinants of health as well as the health of communities and global health. External partnerships are integral to York's health-focused research.  We have local partnerships with industry leaders, regional hospitals, family health teams, public health, Central LHIN (Local Health Integration Network) and internationally with countries worldwide.

Picture of molecules floatingExploring the Frontiers of Science and Technology

York's interdisciplinary and collaborative research programs encompass a full range of pure and applied science research.   Our researchers work at the forefront of discovery and application with projects ranging from subatomic particles to the exploration of Mars and beyond, from the molecular level to complex ecosystems, from the theoretical to the practical.  Moreover, the Lassonde School of Engineering, takes a new approach to the discipline by forming strong academic partnerships with the Schulich School of Business and the Osgoode Hall Law School, which offers students a dynamic interdisciplinary experience.

Picture of a human eye inside a globeForging a Just and Sustainable World

Forging a just and sustainable world features scholarship that offers new insights into areas cutting across borders and populations and effectively responding to the challenges shaping human activity and changing the way we live.  Researchers at York are addressing transnational issues such as globalization, post-colonial criticism, security, gender, human rights and refugees.  Their studies also incorporate research related to Aboriginal and Indigenous peoples and nations, Indigenous thought, legal scholarship, and language, and highlights York's strengths in Canadian and international affairs.

Picture of a person holding a briefcaseIntegrating Entrepreneurial Innovation and the Public Good

York offers a unique professional school environment where research in business and engineering, along with science and fine arts, emphasizes technological development and market alignment.  Research in this area explores social justice and critical discourse, evidenced by York's strengths in education, law, political science, economics and other disciplines within liberal arts.  York researchers are known for putting critical insight to practical use through dynamic interactions with decision makers in the public and private sectors.  We serve as entrepreneurs and catalysts for more intelligent public policy.

Learn more about the Opportunities for the Strategic Development of Research at York.