The Human Evolutionary Studies Program (HESP) is a research initiative associated with the IRMACS Centre at Simon Fraser University. It was created to be an internationally-recognized research and training hub that advances the integrated understanding of the body, mind, and behaviour and social institutions of Homo sapiens within the framework of evolutionary theory.
HESP accomplishes this goal by novel and highly interdisciplinary research projects that are empirically grounded and foster collaborative relationships among diverse SFU faculty, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students. By providing undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows with world-class training that transcends traditional disciplinary boundaries, HESP is preparing a new generation of human evolutionary researchers to become leading figures and partners across disciplines.
Human evolution research has broadened considerably over the last 25 years. Psychologists are using evolutionary theory to understand prejudice and religiosity. Economists are using it to shed light on altruism and preferences. Linguists are using it to unravel language change. Health researchers are using it to tackle medical and public health issues. And scholars of business are using it to understand industrial organization and entrepreneurism. There is even an approach to the interpretation of literature that employs evolutionary theory. Today, in other words, human evolution research is not just about bones and stones; it is a radically interdisciplinary endeavour.