About the Human Rights Lab


The Human Rights Lab is jointly administered by the Human Rights Program in the College of Liberal Arts and the Human Rights Center at the Law School. The Human Rights Lab is an interdisciplinary space for faculty and students at the University of Minnesota to investigate and model ways that cutting-edge research can be used more effectively with NGOs, communities, institutions, and policymakers to reduce inequalities in the enjoyment of human rights.

A group of faculty across several colleges and degree programs have designed this joint endeavor to build on areas of established expertise and leadership, as well as on the existing institutional foundation at the University for excellence in human rights research, teaching, and outreach.

The Lab was initially catalyzed by the University’s Grand Challenges strategic initiative and made possible through the award of one of the highly competitive Grand Challenge Exploratory Research Grants as seed money for 2016-2018. 


Bridging our academic human rights community with partners working on the frontlines for more just and equitable societies.


Building on existing collaborative initiatives at the University, the Human Rights Lab aims to make significant advances on four fronts:

  • Research–strengthen existing faculty work and leadership in research intended to advance human rights;
  • Students–expand the experiential, intercultural, and interdisciplinary aspects of the training of our human rights students;
  • Impact–reduce inequalities by making meaningful contributions with partners that are on the frontlines of promoting the rights of marginalized groups in contexts of severe power disparities; and
  • Sustainability–build our lasting capacity as a nationally and internationally recognized “Human Rights University”