Columbia University Faculty of Arts and Sciences Announces Columbia Science Commits

A new initiative accelerates Columbia’s commitment to advance knowledge and solve some of the greatest scientific challenges facing the world today.

Peter de Menocal, Dean of Science for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (A&S) at Columbia University, today announced Columbia Science Commits, an initiative that mobilizes over 215 distinguished faculty across nine A&S science departments to solve critical global challenges in energy, health, climate, and technology innovation.

Columbia Science Commits will facilitate pioneering research and revolutionary breakthroughs that help address some of the world’s most pressing issues. Advancements made by A&S scientists are making clean, renewable energy efficient and affordable; transforming of our understanding of genetic diseases and how to best treat them; understanding climate impacts on life’s essentials; revealing how our brains shape who we are and how we interact as a society; and uncovering new ways to organize, probe, and make use of the massive amounts of data we collectively gather.

“This is an exciting moment for science at Columbia,” said David Madigan, Executive Vice President for Arts & Sciences and Dean of the A&S Faculty. “Columbia Science Commits will solidify the key role for A&S in a host of major Columbia initiatives. Our faculty- and student-scientists continue to craft solutions to key societal challenges; supporting this work is an imperative.”

Using approaches from the entrepreneurial startup world, the initiative seeks to accelerate scientific discovery and transform these findings into solutions. This model, “Science as Startup,” emphasizes urgent action, focuses on Columbia’s existing strengths and expertise, and accelerates research progress through targeted funding and state-of-the-art facilities. Strong partnerships with stakeholders and public and private sector experts will help build the institutional framework that can turn this new knowledge to action.

“Our distinguished scientists have a long history of leading innovative research with clear benefits to humanity,” said de Menocal. “Columbia Science Commits builds on the depth and impact of this influential research, and enables the brilliant minds in our community to advance their knowledge make a tangible difference in the world.”

The initiative is organized around six priority areas where A&S science faculty have intellectual leadership and where the promise for transformative innovation is greatest:

  • Fundamental Science
  • Precision Medicine
  • Neuroscience
  • Climate Response
  • Next Generation Nanoscience
  • Data and Society

Columbia Science Commits is part of the The Columbia Commitment, the five year, $5 billion capital campaign announced in May 2017 to engage cross-campus intellectual assets and to collaborate with partners beyond academia to solve the biggest global challenges facing this and future generations. Visit to learn more about the initiative and the University’s leadership in the basic sciences.


The Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Columbia University consists of 29 world-class departments in the social sciences, humanities, and natural sciences and their faculty who serve across five schools: Columbia College, the School of General Studies, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the School of the Arts, and the School of Professional Studies, as well as numerous institutes and centers.

Media inquiries:
Rebecca Fowler
(503) 347-4727

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