The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Research Centers, Institutes, Groups, and Services

Center for Economic Development

The Center for Economic Development (CED) is a research and community-oriented technical assistance center that is partially funded by the Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. As an EDA Center housed at the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning, it fits well with the department's long tradition of outreach to Massachusetts' cities and towns, and is well suited to meet EDA's mission, goals and objectives. Its faculty and students have worked on economic development issues in more than 200 cities and towns in the past ten years. As well, its faculty has specializations that include industrial development, retail/commercial development, tourism, marketing, employment training, quantitative analysis and data analysis.

Center for Heritage and Society

The UMass Amherst Center for Heritage and Society (CHS) is a multidisciplinary initiative to craft new approaches to heritage conservation and communication around the world. CHS offers research opportunities for scholars working in heritage related fields such as archaeology, history, environmental science, landscape architecture and regional planning, European studies, Native American Indian Studies, Afro-American Studies, Classics, legal studies, and public policy. Additionally, the Center provides undergraduate and graduate students with training and experience in heritage planning and management.

Center for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies

The Center for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies (CLACLS) promotes research, training, and public engagement on the histories, cultures, and politics of Latin American and Caribbean peoples across the Americas and throughout the world. Bridging the divide that historically has separated Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies as institutionalized knowledge formations with distinctive intellectual genealogies, political trajectories, and bureaucratic moorings at U.S. universities is central to our mission. The Center seeks to be a hemispheric, crossborder space for critical reflection, exchange, and intellectual production. We aim to engage in genuine interdisciplinary work, fostering the creative convergence of discipline-based knowledge. CLACLS is committed to sustaining links with Latin American and Caribbean communities in the U.S. and across the Americas, as well as to bringing the alternative knowledge produced in those communities to bear on our teaching and research.

Center for Research on Families

The Center for Research on Families (CRF) actively supports and disseminates social and behavioral sciences research on issues relevant to families. CRF is an interdisciplinary research center whose mission is to build a strong network of faculty with expertise in family research who are able to generate collaborative, multidisciplinary research projects, and to create unique programming to bring research to policy-makers and the public. As a basic unit of human and animal life, research on families at CRF encompasses disciplines as diverse as the life sciences, social sciences, public health and nursing, education, and natural resources. This rich mix of disciplines has been a key to faculty enthusiasm for CRF.

Center for Resilient Metro-Regions

The Center for Resilient Metro-Regions (CRM) practices a research and outreach mission focused on sustainable development for rural areas and small industrial cities. CRM was established in 1985 to undertake a program of applied research focusing on ways that growth can be managed and controlled through actions of local governments and advocacy groups.

The Civic Initiative

The Civic Initiative is dedicated to promoting Democracy through education both at home and abroad. The United States has directed considerable effort toward advancing Democracy. The Civic Initiative supports that effort and extends it to include research and education efforts aimed at our own local and national Democracy.

Computational Social Science Initiative

The UMass Computational Social Science Initiative is a cross-disciplinary, collaborative group designed to address the challenges and opportunities presented by collecting, storing, and analyzing large scale data related to the social world. With core faculty coming from disciplines as diverse as computer science, political science, sociology, and statistics, the group brings together the expertise necessary to create practical solutions to modern problems in quantitative social science.

Institute for Social Science Research

The Institute for Social Science Research (ISSR) facilitates social science research and methods across the University of Massachusetts. By taking guidance from our research faculty's interests and supporting their efforts, the Institute draws its dynamic strengths and directions from the evolving enterprise of contemporary social research.  ISSR supports the research mission of social science on campus by offering:

  • grant management 
  • qualitative and quantitative research training opportunities 
  • grant mentoring programs 
  • workshops and speakers 
  • methods and data analysis/programming consulting services
  • support for interdisciplinary research teams

National Center for Digital Government

Established in 2002 with support from the National Science Foundation, the National Center for Digital Government (NCDG) is based in the School of Public Policy. Its mission is to build global research capacity, to advance practice, and to strengthen the network of researchers and practitioners engaged in building and using technology and government. NCDG strives to apply and extend the social sciences for research at the intersection of governance, institutions and information technologies.

National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution

The National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution supports and sustains the development of information technology applications, institutional resources, and theoretical and applied knowledge for better understanding and managing conflict. The Center believes that networked information technology can be uniquely leveraged to expand and improve conflict management resources and expertise. We are only at the beginning of understanding how individuals separated by great physical, cultural, or technological distances can utilize resources and expertise virtually. We conceive of the online environment as a "place" where increasingly powerful tools will be available for working to find solutions to many forms of offline/online conflict, whether they are public or private, whether they involve commercial transactions or other social relationships, and whether they are international or domestic.

Political Economy Research Institute

The Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) promotes human and ecological well-being through original research. Our approach is to translate what we learn into workable policy proposals that are capable of improving life on our planet today and in the future. In the words of the late Professor Robert Heilbroner, we “strive to make a workable science out of morality.” Established in 1998, PERI is an independent unit of UMass Amherst with close ties to the Department of Economics. Since its founding, PERI has become a leading source of research and policy initiatives on issues of globalization, unemployment, financial market instability, central bank policy, living wages and decent work, and the economics of peace, development, and the environment.

Science, Technology and Society Initiative

The Science, Technology, and Society Initiative (STS) promotes multidisciplinary collaboration among the natural, physical and social sciences, engineering and public policy. It is a hub for interdisciplinary research on the Internet and society, the societal implications of nanotechnology, and ethics.

UMass Amherst Design Center in Springfield

The UMass Amherst Design Center in Springfield (Design Center) is a collaboration between the UMass Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning, the Architecture + Design Program, and UMass Extension/Center for Agriculture.  Open since 2009, it provides an inviting and creative workspace in downtown Springfield where UMass Amherst students and staff  interact with city officials, design and planning professionals and the general public.

UMass Amherst Summer Field Schools 

The Department of Anthropology offers several field programs that offer in-depth training through the UMass Amherst Summer Field Schools, including the Field School in Archaeological Heritage, the Field and Lab Methods in Bioarchaeology and Forensic Anthropology, the Archaeological Field School Israel, and the Madagascar, Past and Present: Biodiversity, Extinction, and Conservation.

UMass Archaeological Services

Archaeological Services is a consulting organization with expertise in a wide variety of cultural resource management surveys. The staff has completed more than 500 regulatory compliance research projects over the past two decades. They offer extensive experience with federal and state regulatory standards for survey project management, research methodology, fieldwork, analysis, and correspondence with State Historic Preservation Officers, and is committed to timely, responsive action to serve the compliance needs of our clients.

UMass Poll

The UMass Poll is an effort by scholars at UMass to study public opinion about a variety of political and social questions affecting the New England region. Panelists are recruited online and may, occasionally, be re-contacted to determine whether they are interested in participating in additional surveys.