H-star research

[Two researchers at a whiteboard]H-STAR focuses on advancing the human sciences, often in the context of their application to the design and uses of information technology and their influences on people, with a particular emphasis on education and learning. H-STAR programs conduct research at the intersection of human sciences and information technology in the areas of learning, mobility, collaboration, entertainment and commerce.

Current research activity within H-STAR (active awards) totals around $27 million. (This total includes several multiple-year projects.)

PDF files of the H-STAR research publications lists are available for 2010-12, 2009-10, 2008-09, 2007-08, 2006-07, and 2005-06.

H-STAR is home to several research labs and ongoing, large-scale research programs, funded from a variety of sources:


(1) mediaX ( mediaX seeks to build bridges among scholars and thought leaders from influential companies to address questions of real importance within both academia and industry. Fundamental to the mediaX vision is the belief that the program serves two customers: industry partners that affiliate with the program, and the research community within Stanford University. mediaX currently has 24 industry partners, and has funded over $3.5M of Stanford research involving around 90 faculty.

(2) ChangeLabs ( Directed by Banny Bannerjee, and working with Stanford's d.School, Stanford ChangeLabs aims to pioneer world-class thinking on large-scale, sustainable transformation and creating our world's future systems. To fulfill this vision, ChangeLabs seeks to define and advance the field of Transformation Innovation, to create a strong trans-disciplinary global community, and to generate new large-scale, sustainable transformation models along with the mechanisms to diffuse them rapidly in practice.

(3) RAN Project. The Resilient Africa Network (RAN), funded by USAID, is a partnership of 20 African universities in 16 countries that seeks to strengthen the resilience of communities by nurturing and scaling innovations from the different universities. The RAN Project, funded at $3,547,664 over five years, applies science and technology to strengthen the resilience of African communities against natural and man-made stresses. H-STAR is partnering with Makerere University, Tulane University, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. At H-STAR, Prof James Fishkin (Dept of Communication)  is developing online democracy tools and Banny Banerjee (ChangeLabs) is developing a project-oriented form of online education (involving MOOC-like elements).

(4) LIFE Center ( LIFE (Learning in Informal and Formal Environments)  is one of four national Science of Learning Centers funded by the National Science Foundation in 2004 ($47M). The mission of the LIFE Center, a distributed center jointly developed and operated by Stanford University, the University of Washington, and SRI International, is to develop and test principles about the social foundations of human learning in informal and formal environments with the goal of enhancing human learning from infancy to adulthood. The center involves faculty and students from Education, Communication, and Psychology. 

(5) ARPA-e Project ( This Department of Energy (ARPA-e) funded $6.2M project, carried out in collaboration with Stanford's Precourt Energy Efficiency Center, focuses on the development of an interactive software system that encourages people to be more energy efficient at home. The goal is to develop a comprehensive human-centered solution that leverages the anticipated widespread diffusion of energy sensors to significantly reduce and shift energy use, using a transformative system that combines behavioral techniques with human-centered design, computation, and technology to affect energy behavior. Involves 15 faculty and over 20 students from Psychology, Communication, Engineering, and the Medical School.

(6) AAAlab (  The AAAlab, directed by Dan Schwartz (School of Education) studies understanding and the ways that technology can facilitate its development. The lab works at the intersection of cognitive science, education, and computer science by examining and enhancing learning in individual, cross-cultura;, and technological settings. A theme throughout the research is how people's facility for spatial thinking can inform and influence processes of learning, instruction, assessment, and problem solving. 

(7) Persuasive Technology Lab ( The Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab, led by Dr. BJ Fogg, creates insight into how computing products - from websites to mobile phone software - can be designed to change what people believe and what they do, to bring about positive changes in many domains, including health, business, safety, and education. With such ends in mind, we are creating a body of expertise in the design, theory, and analysis of persuasive technologies, an area called captology


(1) Center for Design Research (  CDR focuses on understanding and augmenting engineering design innovation and design education. The center is dedicated to facilitating individual creativity, understanding the team design process, and developing advanced tools and methods that promote superior design and manufacturing of products. 


(1) LeadershipGarage Research Group ( Becoming a digital organization requires more than just digital investment. It calls for building leadership and collaboration capabilities to envision and drive the transformation. This program analyzes how leaders can be most effective in meeting the challenges and expanding the opportunities of the modern, digitally-connected work environment. The program's activities at H-STAR, led by Prof. Dr. Sabine Remdisch, develop efficient tools for leadership, networking, innovation and learning, and identify the core skills, responsibilities, and learning needs of future leaders.

(2) Triple Helix Research Group ( Originating as a metaphor focused on key innovation actors, the Triple Helix of university-industry-government interaction has developed into an internationally recognized innovation model and a guide to policy and practice at the local, regional and national levels. The Triple Helix Research Group's activities at H-STAR are led by Dr. Marina Ranga.