Like temporary art installations and restaurants, pop-up research institutes are gutsy, nimble and open to the public. (They’ll also be gone in a month.)
This spring and summer, The University of Texas at Austin is hosting its second annual series of Pop-Up Institutes on campus. Researchers and faculty members from more than 25 departments will participate in one of three pop-ups that focus on adolescent drug and alcohol addiction, humanistic approaches to health care, and planetary habitability.
“If you’re a researcher who wants to explore something new or work with people in different departments, you need two things: time and a framework in which to spend it with colleagues you don’t otherwise see. That’s why we created Pop-Up Institutes,” says Vice President of Research Dan Jaffe.
Unlike traditional research centers that take years of planning and huge financial commitments to come to fruition, Pop-Up Institutes are month long intense interdisciplinary brainstorming sessions sprinkled with roundtable conversations and presentations from internationally renowned experts in their fields. The topics are bold and so are each teams’ goals.
For more information about each 2018 Pop-Up Institute, including full lists of participants and events that are open to the public, please visit each institute’s webpage.
- Youth Substance Misuse and Addiction: April 16 – May 15
- Health and Humanities: May 7 – May 31
- Understanding Planetary Habitability: June 12 – July 26
“These institutes are a way for the university to offer some financial and administrative support so that new and exciting research projects have a chance to get off the ground,” says Jaffe, “but they’re faster, easier and cheaper to set up than creating a permanent research center on campus.”
Although the pop-ups themselves are temporary, the collaborations they catalyze are meant to be long-lasting.
The first 2018 pop-up, Youth Substance Misuse and Addiction, launched April 16, 2018. Lori Holleran Steiker, a professor in the Steve Hicks School of Social Work, will lead the pop-up focused on better understanding the nations opioid crisis.
Her team includes dozens of experts from UT Austin and across the country including Michael Botticelli, who served as the director of National Drug Control Policy at the White House under President Barack Obama.
They’re looking to find ways to share data among clinical, community and rehabilitation organizations so they can address adolescent addiction and relapse. At the same time, the Pop-Up Institute will make campus-specific recommendations to address addiction and substance abuse among Longhorn students.
Pop-up teams also invite experts from around the world to come to campus to help the group answer vital questions: What are we overlooking? What haven’t we considered? Are we on the right track? Several expert-led events also are open to the public.
If you would like to attend any of the Youth Substance Misuse and Addiction events, please visit the calendar to get location information or to register. The pop-up will culminate in mid-May with a seminar on addiction and recovery led by professors Bob Duke and Art Markman of the podcast “Two Guys on Your Head,” a town hall forum dedicated to opioid abuse prevention, and a candlelight vigil in honor of those our community has lost to addiction.