How H-STAR Works

The H-STAR Institute is housed in the Stanford Graduate School of Education and supports research, through organizations, grants and contracts, in areas at the intersection of the human sciences and technologies. H-STAR programs leverage common interests across the different contexts in which information technology is used (e.g., learning, commerce, entertainment, work), the different motivations for research (e.g., designing information environments and studying their consequences), and the different technologies employed in information system solutions (e.g., computing, new media, mobile devices, networks, sensors).

Through its affiliated mediaX at Stanford University Industry Affiliates Program, the H-STAR Institute extends its research activities to include collaborations and consultations with industry, enabling us to build bridges that connect the best faculty and student scholars at Stanford to thought leaders from influential companies, to address questions of real importance within both academia and industry about the future of people and technology.

Research areas supported by the Institute include learning technologies, human-machine interaction design, pervasive computing including mobile devices, speech recognition, automated dialogue systems, collaboration technologies, entertainment and serious games, immersive virtual worlds and virtual humans, technology and the developing world, information and social network visualization, security and privacy, participatory media including web video technologies, simulation, law and information policy, and novel input and display devices. We engage with other research centers on the Stanford campus that address related issues.


The Stanford Secret

The secret sauce that has made Stanford the leading university in the world for the launch of successful, innovative startup companies (many of which have become world leaders themselves) is not a secret at all. What makes Stanford so successful is a tradition of innovative research that cuts across traditional disciplines, breaking down the barriers that separate them. Other leading universities have also promoted interdisciplinary research, generally by creating multi-disciplinary research centers, which hire cross-disciplinary thinkers. That approach can be highly successful, but it is not how we do it.

At Stanford we have always recognized the power of the traditional disciplines. Everyone in H-STAR is a world expert in a traditional discipline. Indeed, many in the institute work in traditional ways almost entirely within their discipline, and it is only by taking a step back that the synoptic campus-wide interdisciplinary picture emerges. Regardless of the degree to which H-STAR researchers are engaged in interdisciplinary projects, the metric by which their work is evaluated is that of their core discipline, within their home department.


Created by the researchers themselves

H-STAR was created by the researchers themselves, in recognition of the fact that the design and use of new technologies and the radical changes those new developments have made and continue to make to the way we live our lives, present challenges that no single research discipline, or even a small collaborative group of disciplines, can properly address. The institute operates by fostering both disciplinary and interdisciplinary research and university partnerships that (directly or indirectly) advance ideas about the role of technology in such domains as learning, commerce and entertainment, with the promise to improve people’s lives and solve social problems. The institute is driven by a steadfast belief in the inspiration and innovation that emerges at the intersection of practical problems and academic research, and in the boundary-crossing and conceptual collisions that occur between multiple disciplines addressing the same questions.


Join Our Community

Recognizing that interdisciplinary research can benefit from collaborations with researchers from outside Stanford, H-STAR seeks to collaborate on a worldwide basis with universities, university consortia, government supported research laboratories, and organizations representing same results oriented goals. Engagement with researchers in industry and other organizations is also welcomed, and is normally facilitated by H-STAR’s through its affiliate programs – mediaX at Stanford University or ChangeLabs.

The unique nature of Stanford as the world’s leading incubator of new technology companies, coupled with our close relationship with Silicon Valley, means that for research collaborations in H-STAR’s areas of focus, the value to the group can be considerable. Institutional collaboration with H-STAR automatically includes membership in our renowned programs: mediaX at Stanford University, with its extensive connections to the technology industry; and ChangeLabs, with its sustainable transformation programs. In our experience such collaborations yield greater benefits when arranged through an appropriate technology advancement agency.

For details of institutional collaborations with H-STAR, please email Lilian Kamal.

For details of membership in mediaX at Stanford University, please email Martha Russell.

For details of membership in ChangeLabs, please email Banny Banarjee.

Click Here for a sample affiliate program agreement.


Types of Collaboration

Many research collaborations comprise single projects, and are arranged on a case-by-case basis. For larger collaborations, however, there are benefits and economies to be gained from a collaboration framework. H-STAR can negotiate broad collaboration agreements on a case-by-case basis, but such collaborations are most easily established — and much “re-inventing of the wheel” avoided — by adopting one of two standard program templates H-STAR has developed for research with other organizations and found to be successful: Visiting Collaboration and Project Collaboration. (These are technical terms. Both involve projects and both generally involve visitors.) Note that these templates provide the basis for a collaboration. Each may be enhanced or tailored to meet particular needs.

Because the problems we focus on are generally extremely broad, requiring the expertise of many different disciplines, H-STAR is not built on a fixed membership model. All Stanford faculty are eligible to participate in H-STAR supported research, as are faculty from universities anywhere in the world.


Working with Graduate and Undergraduate Students

H-STAR faculty are regularly involved in teaching courses and mentoring graduate students in the learning sciences and technologies programs of the Stanford University Graduate School of Education, and their research preparation is commonly advanced through apprenticeship learning in research and development projects of H-STAR programs and grants.

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