Colorado State University

University Interdisciplinary Research Scholar in the College of Natural Sciences

The Interdisciplinary Research Scholar designation – awarded by the Office of the Vice President for Research – rewards professors who have obtained national and international prominence for their efforts to conduct research across disciplines. The Interdisciplinary Research Scholar program joins several other prominent programs that honor some of the top faculty at Colorado State including University Distinguished Professors and University Distinguished Teaching Scholars.

The honoree receives postdoctoral scholar support to cover teaching responsibilities and an annual budget to defray expenses needed to advance interdisciplinary research such as travel and workshops. Award winners retain the title of Interdisciplinary Research Scholar for the duration of their tenure at the university.


The College of Natural Sciences is pleased to recognize one of it’s own – Don Estep, professor in the Mathematics and Statistics Departments – as the Inaugural Interdisciplinary Research Scholar.

Photo of Don Estep
Don Estep, B.A. (Columbia University)
M.S. and Ph.D. (University of Michigan)
Departments of Mathematics and Statistics

“Professor Estep has truly helped the university reach real progress in how we foster, promote and celebrate interdisciplinary research,” said Interim Provost Rick Miranda. “In particular, he should be lauded for his work on a graduate program that spans many programs, including mathematics, biology, biochemistry, statistics, computer science and the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory.”

Mathematical equations key to energy problems

Estep is known for his research in numerical analysis and partial differential equations. Estep serves as the director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Mathematics and Statistics (CIMS) and the co-director of the Program for Interdisciplinary Mathematics, Ecology and Statistics (PRIMES).

Estep has worked to compute solutions of new mathematical equations that model physical phenomena important to the country’s energy problems and quantify errors in predictions made from mathematical models. His research involves development of new numerical techniques, new and interesting mathematical analysis, computational investigations of specific problems and software development. Much of his work is carried out in close collaboration with national science laboratories and a high-tech company in Boulder and is supported by research grants from a number of different government agencies.

Estep has taught at Colorado State since 2000. He received his bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Michigan. He taught at Georgia Tech and Caltech before coming to CSU.

Multidisciplinary research is the wave of the future

“Colorado State University has a strong tradition of multidisciplinary research, which is really the wave of the future for a top-notch research institution,” said Bill Farland, senior vice president for Research and Engagement. “The real crux of this type of research is bringing pieces together to address real-world problems. The Superclusters are a natural extension of this – they enhance the role of top investigators such as Professor Estep in terms of moving science toward commercialization.”

“The conduct of interdisciplinary research and scholarship is the key to addressing the most challenging domestic and global research problems and for preparing our students for the future,” Farland said. “It is essential for attaining many of the university’s strategic priorities and for remaining competitive in an evolving external funding environment.”


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