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About Us

THE INSTITUTE FOR SOCIETY, CULTURE AND ENVIRONMENT (ISCE) champions the fundamental role that the social sciences play in society. The social science community at Virginia Tech is broadly defined and inclusive of faculty in traditional social science disciplines and departments, faculty in behavioral and public health sciences disciplines and departments, policy and humanity scholars, and individual faculty embedded in departments not traditionally aligned with the social sciences, but whose research addresses contemporary social problems within their respective disciplines (collectively referred to as the “social sciences”).

The goals of ISCE are to increase the quality, quantity and competitiveness of the Virginia Tech research portfolio by supporting innovative, interdisciplinary, and translational research that addresses critical human and societal concerns impacting the lives of people and places. The Institute leverages university funds to increase sponsored research and scholarship with a focus on issues of importance in the social sciences.

ISCE primarily supports faculty activities that have the potential for extramural funding. ISCE makes available financial and technical assistance that supports the development of individual faculty members and interdisciplinary teams. Since 2007, investment of over $6 million dollars has resulted in increased research productivity:

  • 332 faculty members have received support
  • 271+ faculty have received technical assistance
  • 584 proposals have been submitted, totaling $519.5 million
  • 252 awards have been received, totaling $61.7 million
  • 32+ scholarly books and 249+ journal publications
    (June 2020)

ISCE focuses its resources in four thematic areas, each described below.

Global Policies & Practices
thematic area
Global trade and economic integration; security & counter-terrorism; health, science & policy
Health & Human  Development
thematic area
Social/behavioral aspects of development across ages; health of individuals, groups, communities; social determinants of health; disparities; policy
Risk & Resilience
thematic area
Individual/community responses to social issues, natural disasters, security, technology & communication; social complexity, ethics; risk analysis & policy
Community & Environments
thematic area
Geographic locations, environments, structures and settings affecting the human condition, policy implementation & evaluation

ISCE supports nine associated centers, offers a variety of support programs, such as it signature ISCE Scholars program, and provides capacity building activities and strategies including:

Learn more about ISCE's goals and objectives in the ISCE Strategic Plan: 2020-2024. For a quick overview of ISCE funding opportunities and support, download our 2020-2021 handout.

To learn more about ISCE, contact Karen Roberto, the Executive Director, or Yancey Crawford, Project Coordination Specialist, or explore our website.