Through their research, HE faculty play leadership roles in defining important new fields of scholarship on an international scale and infusing them into to the Colorado School of Mines campus community. Major funded research areas include:
- Engineering and Sustainable Community Development, which set an agenda for this field through a popular textbook by Juan Lucena, Jon Leydens, and Jen Schneider
- Engineering and Social Justice, which identified social justice as the missing dimension of sustainable community development through the book Engineering Education for Social Justice by Lucena and the book Engineering Justice: Transforming Engineering Education and Practice by Leydens and Lucena
- Engineering and Corporate Social Responsibility, which positions CSR as a sociotechnical field of practice and core competency of engineers through an ongoing grant from the National Science Foundation and journal articles by Jessica Smith and Nicole Smith
- Sustainable Artisanal Mining, which makes the practice safer and healthier for miners, communities and the environment through projects in Suriname, Peru and Bolivia led by Nicole Smith and an interdisciplinary Partnerships in International Research and Education NSF grant awarded to Mines HE faculty in collaboration with scholars in Colombia and Peru
- Low Income, First Generation Engineering Students, which identifies the unique strengths that these students bring with them to undergraduate engineering programs that make them effective engineers
This research provides intellectual leadership and external funding for the university and directly benefits students, who take courses that are cutting-edge thanks to the active research agendas of their professors and participate in undergraduate research opportunities.