Leading Research & Innovation

Ranked a Tier One research university by the Carnegie Classification, UNT spurs innovation and technology through high-impact research that fuels the region and state's intellectual capital and economic development.

Leading Research & Innovation

UNT has a long history of nationally recognized excellence in the arts, education, humanities and science. The university's long-held strengths in the sciences include chemistry, biological sciences and a rich legacy in the environmental sciences, coupled with growing expertise in engineering, technology, big data and logistics. Today, UNT is among the universities leading the way in the STEM to STEAM movement, in which art — alongside science, technology, engineering and math — are part of the innovation equation.

UNT researchers are focused on carrying out innovative, high-impact research to address scientific, environmental and societal problems. For instance, UNT is one of the nation’s preeminent research hubs in plant science research that studies how plant cells communicate to find solutions for energy, agriculture, nutrition and medicine. Science researchers are developing high-quality, high-yield crops and plant-based, sustainable resources. UNT's engineering researchers are leading the way in developing energy efficient materials, renewable products and technologies, and next generation applications.

Through initiatives like UNT’s Institutes of Research Excellence, UNT is bringing its solutions-based research to industry and the marketplace, creating a pipeline for technology transfer and industry partnerships. This kind of outcomes-based research and knowledge transfer spurs new technologies, new products and new ventures — all of which help to sustain and create businesses and jobs. By taking UNT researchers' knowledge and solutions out of the labs and into the marketplace, UNT is fueling innovation and economic growth.


In this section, you will find:

Top Researchers

  • 1,600: UNT has 1,600 talented faculty members, many who are experts in their fields and have earned honors such as National Science Foundation CAREER awards, Fulbrights and Guggenheim fellowships, National Medal of Arts honors, and Grammy, Emmy and Pulitzer nominations.
  • 6: UNT has two members of the National Academy of Inventors (one of whom is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences), one member of the National Academy of Engineering, one member of the National Academy of Public Administration Fellows, one member of the National Academy of Kinesiology and one member of the National Academy of Neuropsychology.
  • 13: UNT has 13 NSF CAREER Award recipients, given to researchers on the rise.
  • 107: UNT faculty researchers have earned 107 new patents since 2000, and with an increased emphasis on technology transfer and economic development more are on the horizon. During the past few years, UNT has expanded opportunities for students interested in entrepreneurship through its formal curriculum and other programs.

Plant-Based Products and Cures 

Plants are a fundamental part of nature and of life, and without them humans and animals wouldn’t exist. They hold answers to producing healthier food, creating cleaner, renewable fuel and fighting devastating diseases. As one of the nation’s preeminent hubs for plant science research, UNT has a team of innovative researchers in biology, chemistry and materials science and engineering that is working on breakthroughs for a better life and world. By altering a plant’s genes to produce vital chemicals or enhance yield, they are creating innovative bio products and finding treatments and cures for diseases.

  • Bio-based products: UNT’s BioDiscovery Institute, led by Richard Dixon, Distinguished Research Professor of biology and member of the National Academy of Sciences, is advancing UNT’s innovative bio-based products research by furthering the world’s understanding of plant processes and materials for the development of a sustainable, environmentally friendly bio-based economies.
  • Environmental research: UNT's Advanced Environmental Research Institute conducts environmental research that provides an understanding of how human actions impact the environment and is focused on creating scientific, engineering, policy and/or educational solutions for environmental problems.

Engineering Breakthroughs

With world-class, fast-growing programs, UNT’s College of Engineering has established itself as a pacesetter in developing energy-efficient materials, renewable products and technologies, and next-generation applications. Researchers in materials science are improving the design and performance of new and existing biological and man-made materials. And mechanical and energy engineering researchers are addressing global demand for cheap, renewable energy and eco-friendly products.

  • Only: UNT’s Zero Energy Lab is Texas’ only such facility testing technologies and systems for net-zero energy consumption of buildings.
  • Leader: UNT’s College of Engineering has a large collection of computational and experimental researchers and the only such group in the state working on advanced structural materials.
  • High-performance materials: UNT’s Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Processes Institute is focused on researching and designing high-performance materials for the aerospace, automotive and energy sectors.

Art Meets Big Data

UNT researchers bridge the art-technology divide through work that visually showcases big data to develop new understandings of big ideas. For instance, the work includes combining emerging technologies to help scientists see problems from new perspectives through imagery and virtual experiences.

  • iARTA: UNT’s Initiative for Advanced Research in Technology and the Arts (iARTA) embraces a variety of collaborations with artists, musicians, dancers, engineers, physicists and more to create a wide spectrum of software solutions, technical demonstrations and interdisciplinary art works that challenge ideation. iARTA brings diverse disciplines together to create compelling expressions: dancers wired with sensors perform an interactive concert; media artists incorporate robotics and surveillance hardware in a social context; musicians compose scores based on math equations; computer artists animate visual models from biological data.

Logistics and Supply Chain Leader

Only 20 years old, UNT's logistics program is now among the top. Undergraduate logistics and supply chain management program is ranked 4th in Texas, 14th in the South and 38th in the nation by Best-Business-Colleges.com. Researchers in business and logistics are leading the way in industry-focused research in logistics and transportation ranging from the modeling, planning and management, economic impact studies, technology development and more.

  • Logistics and transportation: UNT's Jim McNatt Institute for Logistics Research addresses the most critical issues confronting logistics and transportation professionals through the study of how business, government agencies, the public and the environment interact within complex logistics systems in a global network.
  • Global supply chain: UNT's Complex Logistics Systems Laboratory allows student and faculty researchers to partner with logistics companies and solve some of the most daunting challenges facing the global supply chain network.

Centers of Excellence

UNT is a strong partner for collaborations with industry because of innovative engineering expertise and unique facilities including state-of-the-art microscopy and 3-D characterization capabilities associated with UNT's Materials Research Facility (MRF), previously known as the Center for Advanced Research and Technology (CART).

The National Science Foundation developed Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers program, which creates a stronger link between industry and academia. The centers are primarily funded by industry partners, who receive royalty-free access to the research. UNT has one National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center and one I/UCRC site:

  • Net-Centric Software and Systems Center: Created at UNT in 2007 by Krishna Kavi, professor of computer science and engineering, the site works with AMD, Boeing, Brainstorm Technology, Cisco, EDS/HP, EndoMetric, GlobeRanger, Intel, IQ Engines, LG Electronics, Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aero, Raytheon, Revere Security, Tektronics and Texas Instruments.
  • Center for Friction Stir processing site: Created in 2004 and brought to UNT in 2011 with Rajiv Mishra, professor of materials science and engineering, the site works with the Army Research Laboratory, Boeing, General Motors, Magnesium Elektron North America, NASA Johnson Space Center and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
  • Cybersecurity Leader: UNT is recognized by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security as having one of the nation’s leading university-based programs in cybersecurity. UNT’s Center for Information and Computer Security is ranked as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education (CAE-IAE) and National Center for Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Research (CAE-R); UNT is one of approximately 35 universities in the nation to have received both designations.