Institutes & Centers


Institutes at Wake Forest are led by a faculty director and staff with a broad mission and complex interdisciplinary focus extending beyond department, school and college boundaries. An institute’s mission lies in an area of sustained and decided interest to the University as a whole. Institutes may foster and support scholarly inquiry, research, and creative activity, inspire new directions in teaching, and engage in public service activities and actions.

Humanities Institute

The Humanities Institute sponsors programs and provides funding for faculty in the humanities and their collaborators in other fields of study, fosters collaboration among scholars in the humanistic disciplines, and promotes cross- and interdisciplinary research and other creative activity that engages the humanities. It also supports joint faculty-student research and co-curricular activities in the humanities, and builds partnerships with the public community outside Wake Forest. In so doing, the Institute advances the university’s commitment to education and scholarship that is pro humanitate and underscores the value of the humanities for the common good.


Centers at Wake Forest are led by interdisciplinary faculty teams around a clearly defined topic or question. They enable faculty to accomplish scholarship and creative work that benefits from reaching out to other scholars or artists for additional insight, inspiration or collaboration. Centers help build intellectual community and engagement among faculty and students and provide mentoring to new members with complementary interests. Centers have a five-year cycle for application and renewal.

Center for Bioethics, Health, and Society

The Center for Bioethics, Health, and Society is a collaborative intellectual space for addressing ethical, social, and policy issues of importance for biotechnology, health care, biomedical research, and public health. The Center brings together faculty, students, and staff from all disciplines across all WFU campuses and schools, and engages academic and public stakeholders locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally to advance research, education, and communication about bioethics issues.

Andrew Sabin Family Center for Environment and Sustainability

The world needs the leadership and engagement of universities to remediate energy and environmental problems because they generate new knowledge and technology, gather deep and varied expertise, and train future leaders. At the Andrew Sabin Family Center for Environment and Sustainability, 60 faculty and staff across 16 departments and academic and administrative units coalesce in 3 areas of urgent concern: renewable energy research; biodiversity and ecosystem services; and policy, enterprise and ecosystem markets. It will conduct research and scholarly activities, education, and public engagement to generate new research teams and new ways of thinking.

 Center for Entrepreneurship at Wake Forest University

The priority at the Center for Entrepreneurship at Wake Forest University is to educate and inspire entrepreneurial leaders through engaged teaching, coaching and mentoring within a robust and vibrant entrepreneurial culture. The Center graduates students who have experienced the entrepreneurial life cycle. They will move from idea to concept, venture to scale and then to harvest.

The Center for Entrepreneurship offers a minor in Entrepreneurship and co-curricular programs such as The Idea Sandbox (students develop problem solving skills and solve real world issues under faculty direction), Deacon Springboard (students develop valuable ideas into concepts) and Startup Lab (our most fervent students develop concepts into ventures via access to mentors and robust seed capital).

By 2025, the vision is for the Wake Forest Center for Entrepreneurship to be a model by which other liberal arts entrepreneurship programs are measured.

Learn more at or call 336.758.3153.

Center for Functional Materials

The Center for Functional Materials (CFM) has one overarching goal: to propel Wake Forest University into the top tier of materials research. We pursue this goal by providing a common platform for researchers with an interest in materials and by overcoming barriers between the various disciplines involved in materials research at Wake Forest, including Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Engineering, and parts of the School of Medicine. CFM is involved in a broad portfolio of research activities with a large spectrum of materials reaching from organic electronics to human tissue. We bring together researchers from these disciplines to create synergistic research and education activities and opportunities at Wake Forest.

Further information about CFM can be found at or calling 336.758.3223.

When you imagine life on a college campus, you probably think of a place filled with smart, inventive people having inspiring conversations about every subject imaginable. The Interdisciplinary Arts Center exists to foster just that. Drawing together artists, scholars, students, faculty, and staff from every corner of our campus, the IAC uses performance and visual art collaborations—with Chemistry, Religion, History, Politics, Math, Romance Languages, Neuroscience, Documentary Film, and really anything else you can think of—to give us all a place, a time, and a reason to talk to each other about the things we care about.

Center for Leadership & Character 

The Center for Leadership & Character at the Wake Forest University School of Business was formed to focus the School’s longstanding practice of developing leaders of character who achieve results with integrity. The Center combines a proven track record of thought leadership, practical relevance and partnerships across the Wake Forest community.

Center for Molecular Signaling

Center for Molecular Signaling

The Center for Molecular Signaling teams investigators in the life, physical, computational, and mathematical sciences to tackle basic questions about molecular communication among and within the cells of living organisms ranging from insects to plants to humans. CMS will enhance opportunities to secure external funds for research and needed equipment by linking the College, Graduate School, and School of Medicine and building connections to Winston-Salem State University, North Carolina A & T State University, and Salem College. Members will share research, instrumentation, teaching, and mentoring resources to advance all areas of the university’s mission, enhancing our national profile and attracting exciting new faculty and students.

Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials

Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials

The Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials at Wake Forest University was founded in 2004 and serves the Wake Forest University/Wake Forest Baptist Heath research communities as a broad spectrum infrastructural resource.  The mission of  WF-Nanotech is to provide for world class research, outstanding and unique educational opportunities, transformation of local economies.

Center for Private Business

The Center for Private Business enables privately owned businesses to achieve dreams for their business, family, employees, community and stakeholders by providing access to  industry leaders, resources, networks, and education.

By 2020, Wake Forest University will be a catalyst for economic growth in the Carolinas and will be an institution more deeply imbedded in the economic and social prosperity of our region and beyond.

The Center for Research on Abroad and International Student Engagement (RAISE Center)

The Center for Research on Abroad and International Student Engagement (RAISE Center) serves as a nexus for faculty, staff, and students at Wake Forest University to collaborate with scholars around the world to understand and enhance the experiences, engagement, and development of abroad and international students. Our work on global student engagement is undergirded by awareness of one’s own cultural identity and global competencies (i.e., the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to respectfully and effectively interact with individuals of different backgrounds and cultures). 

In addition to developing lines of inquiry, extending multi-wave longitudinal research projects, and mapping the knowledge bases in study abroad and international student engagement, RAISE Center members can provide cultural responsiveness expertise for funding proposals in a range of disciplines. For more information, please visit our website or email

The Center for Research, Engagement and Collaboration in African American Life (RECAAL) is an incubator of ideas promoting awareness about the diverse experiences of Black people in this country. It functions as an academic center serving our intellectual community while promoting interdisciplinary engagement that fosters collaborative relationships across Wake Forest’s campus. Through faculty connections the Center for RECAAL supports stimulating research, teaching and programming broadly related to African American experience. In addition, the Center promotes mutually beneficial working partnerships with the Winston-Salem community to deepen awareness and advance knowledge about African American life while addressing complex issues in local Black communities.

Center for Analytics Impact

The research mission of the Center for Analytics Impact is to examine factors that lead to the successful application of analytics to improve the leadership and operations of organizations.

Center for the Study of Capitalism

The mission of the Center for the Study of Capitalism is to encourage the study and examination of the nature and effects of capitalism. The Center provides a robust and encouraging intellectual community that supports investigation into the theory and practice of capitalism, business, and human prosperity. The experience and opportunity available through the Center aims to contribute to our understanding of what capitalism has been, is, and can be; what its central challenges and shortcomings are; and how we can contribute to generating and maintaining the political, economic, and moral institutions required for peaceful, prosperous, and humane life.

Translational Science Center: Fostering Independence in Aging

Translational Science Center: Fostering Independence in Aging

The Translational Science Center (TSC) focuses on promoting and maintaining functional health in aging. Both past and current research projects look at the effects of  interventions on cognitive function and physical activity.

The center team includes medical staff, behavioral scientists and basic scientists who develop experimental interventions to improve physical and cognitive health in aging populations while using observations from these interventions to plan new studies.

The center aims to develop a new undergraduate minor in translational science in addition to a graduate certificate program.

Five-year Center Plans

Five-year center plans may be submitted to the Office of the Provost. The below resources are provided for your convenience.

One-year Center Planning Grants

The Office of the Provost will fund planning for additional centers in the future. Each of these one-year planning grants should be used to develop and submit a five-year operational plan for a new center. If interested, please review the instructions for submitting Center Planning Grants.