By Dave Hendrick

Newswise — The University of Virginia and the Darden School of Business have announced a dramatic expansion of behavioral research capabilities available to University faculty.

As a result of funding from the University of Virginia Board of Visitors’ Strategic Investment Fund (SIF), the leaders of the Convergent Behavioral Science Initiative (CBSI) are building a research infrastructure that will enable UVA to take a leadership role in the development of interdisciplinary behavioral science applications, with a particular focus on issues of diversity, sustainability and well-being.

A portion of the $2.2 million in funds from the SIF is earmarked for new physical infrastructure hosted at the Darden School and shared across UVA with researchers in departments of engineering, nursing and architecture, among others. The new infrastructure enhances cutting-edge research capabilities at the Behavioral Research at Darden (BRAD) Lab, while also strengthening a pan-University research ecosystem capable of exploring significant issues through a multidisciplinary lens.

In addition to new facilities, the funding from the University will allow for additional staff, a larger pool of research funding for new faculty and an enhanced Ph.D. program, among other capabilities. Additional funding through private philanthropy is also being sought to seize opportunities to elevate the Convergent Behavioral Science Initiative and its diverse touch points across the University.

“As an academic researcher trained in a particular discipline, sometimes we have a tendency to view areas of study through our narrow field of focus,” said Darden Professor Morela Hernandez, director of the BRAD Lab and co-director of the Convergent Behavioral Science Initiative. “The funding from the Strategic Investment Fund will allow us to continue building an environment where interdisciplinary collaboration flourishes, eliminating our blind spots and magnifying the impact and applicability of our work.”

An early example of enhanced collaboration is an incoming cohort of eight to 10 doctoral students through a partnership with the UVA School of Engineering, which will seek to advance knowledge at the intersection of behavioral and sustainability science.

“The additional funding will strengthen a program that could only be offered at a comprehensive university like UVA and is therefore both urgently-needed and unique,” said UVA Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Leidy Klotz, CBSI co-director. “Graduates of the program will fill critical roles. They will not only be prepared for faculty positions in engineering and business, but will also be prepared for influential opportunities in policy and at companies working at the intersection of behavioral science and sustainability.”

Contact the Convergent Behavioral Science Initiative to learn more, including ways to partner with the organization. To learn more about supporting the CBSI, contact Howie Avery of the Darden Office of Advancement at [email protected] or +1-434-982-2153.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D. and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.