Enhancing Communities

Enhancing Hoosier Communities

Every day, IU researchers work to improve the lives of people in Indiana. Through innovative research and local and state partnerships, IU organizations like the Environmental Resilience Institute and others have been helping Hoosier communities adapt to our changing world and prepare for the future.

Read on for a few highlights of IU research positively impacting the quality of life for communities around the state and beyond.

The Irsay Family Research Center which will occupy a renovated space in Morrison Hall on the Indiana University Bloomington campus

Irsays to donate $3 million to create IU research institute on mental health, stigma

Indiana University will establish a new research institute, designed to be the leading national center for addressing the stigma surrounding mental health and other health challenges, thanks to a $3 million gift from the Jim Irsay family, owners of the NFL's Indianapolis Colts.

Learn more about the Irsay Family Research Center
Members of the Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society (CRRES) gathering for an event.

Indiana University leading race and ethnicity research

Issues of racism, injustice, and inequity plague our nation and our world, but research can help lead to dramatic transformations in our society. Indiana University centers, institutes and individual faculty members are exploring myriad aspects of race, ethnicity and inequality.

Learn more about IU leading race and ethnicity research
A close-up image of a mosquito biting a human.

Understanding mosquito-borne disease transmission

Mosquito-transmitted viruses present a significant threat to people and livestock in Indiana and around the world, a risk amplified as climate change pushes historically tropical mosquito species northward. To better understand the prevalence of disease-causing pathogens in Indiana’s mosquito populations and the potential threat to public health, an IU research team is collecting and analyzing mosquitos from different parts of the state.

Learn more about mosquito-borne disease transmission
A large agriculture instrument being used in a field to improve water infiltration.

Evaluating nutrient management practices

Cover crops have been touted for their environmental benefits, including nutrient retention and carbon sequestration. In 2020, Indiana farmers set a new state record for cover crops, planting an estimated 1.5 million acres. But how will Indiana’s changing climate affect the benefits of cover crops and other farm management practices? IU researchers have partnered with an Indiana-based farming cooperative to collect real-world data and construct a high-resolution model capable of simulating various outcomes – offering new insight into resilient farm management practices under a warming climate.

Learn more about nutrient management practices
The Indianapolis skyline at night showing the numerous artificial lights being used.

Measuring and mitigating the impacts of artificial light on wildlife

Many animals rely on Earth's daily light cycle as a cue for when to wake, when to migrate and even when to breed. The proliferation of artificial light, however, threatens to disrupt those cycles, potentially throwing wildlife out of step with nature's rhythms. To better understand the effects of artificial light on birds, IU researchers subjected sparrows to light regimes that mimicked urban and natural settings under lab-controlled conditions, finding that the artificial regime contributed to the reactivation of dormant infections, such as malaria.

Learn more about the impacts of artificial light on wildlife
A dense cluster of houses that illustrates how much energy is being used by multiple families in a limited area.

Household energy insecurity

Millions of Americans are energy insecure, meaning they are uncertain about their ability to pay their energy bills, and they may face service shutoffs or endure otherwise poor living conditions. Over the past several years, IU's Energy Justice Lab has worked to understand the coping strategies energy insecure individuals use to manage their living conditions. Through various surveys and other methods, they identified contributing factors and made recommendations to improve living conditions.

Learn more about household energy insecurity
Two members of the Everyday Arts and Aging program - helping produce a guide that will be of use to libraries, senior centers, care facilities and individuals around the country.

Arts and Humanities at home and abroad helping elderly Hoosiers

Traditional Arts Indiana, an IU-based program which collaborates with local artists and organizations to promote art and creative expression, is working to improve the lives of elderly Hoosiers through its Everyday Arts and Aging program, which aims to open opportunities for creative expression, social connectedness and physical engagement with their community.

Learn more about the Everyday Arts and Aging Program