VCU has two categories of research-related institutes and centers: chartered and general.
Chartered research centers
Chartered institutes require approval of the VCU Board of Visitors. Two chartered university research centers support the mission of VCU Life Sciences to advance knowledge and education in fields like bioinformatics and environmental technology. The Center for Environmental Studies and Center for Biological Data Science stand alone nationally as research centers that also house tenure.
The Center for Environmental Studies emphasizes the importance of the life sciences through innovative research, hands-on teaching and community service. Faculty, staff and graduate students in the center conduct nationally and internationally recognized research in environmental science, policy, and technology.
The Center for Biological Data Science has the broad mission to support integrative research. The CBDS focuses on five specific research foci: microbial systems biology and pathogenesis; gene networks in cell biology and cellular control mechanisms; structural biology and pharmacogenomics; environmental and ecological systems; and mathematical and computational biology, biomedicine, biophysics and biostatistics.
General research centers
The VCU Rice Rivers Center supports research and educational opportunities that advance knowledge of the environmental and ecological sciences. Research primarily is focused on large river ecosystems, their riparian habitats and associated wetlands, but also includes terrestrial plant and animal communities, as well as landscape ecology and conservation issues.