The UCI Environment Institute was founded in April 2008 by Chancellor Drake and Provost Gottfredson and closed as an independent campus institute on June 30, 2013. As a campus-wide organization, the Environment Institute worked through funded programs and facilities to enhance interdisciplinary studies in sustainability and environmental science. Many of the research, education and engagement programs initiated by the Environment Institute are being continued through the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor. This website maintains historical data on the institute and its accomplishments, while pointing the way to new campus activities that address environmental and societal issues driven by 21st century changes in climate, ecosystems, demography, and sustainability of energy and other resources.
Faculty Research Program
The Environment Institute supported promising new research partnerships in environmental and sustainability-related studies that reached across Schools and Departments and enhanced the internationally recognized environmental research leadership at UC Irvine. The institute hosted a faculty-led research initiative regarding the restoration of the Salton Sea. In addition, the institute funded faculty seed grants to support research partnerships across disciplines that aimed to define and understand dynamic interactions among science, technological innovation, and societal response. The Environment Institute also assisted the Schools of Physical Sciences, Biological Sciences, and Engineering to recruit faculty to UCI who are leaders in the environment, global change, energy, and sustainable resources.
Education Program & Sustainability Science Teams (SST): 2010, 2011, and 2012
The Environment Institute contributed to sustainability education at UCI both inside and outside the classroom. At the graduate level, the institute convened UCI’s Sustainability Science Teams (SST), an interdisciplinary cohort of five doctoral candidates who worked together to address a real-world sustainability challenge. The applied research of each team drew upon the expertise of the individual team members while innovating a transdisciplinary language of sustainability aimed at enabling tomorrow’s leaders to better meet the challenge of our times. The institute’s Sustainability Curriculum Project worked with faculty, staff, and students from across campus to assess UCI’s current curriculum capacity and to develop new formal education programs in sustainability, both at the graduate and undergraduate levels. The institute’s Sustainability Co-curriculum Project provided sustainability education outside the classroom through freshmen dorm sustainability orientation, sustainability-related campus programming, and weekly informal lunches for graduate and undergraduate students interested in sustainability research, education, and engagement.
The Environment Institute partnered with others to deliver high quality environmental and sustainability-related programming to the UCI campus and surrounding community. The institute’s Campus Engagement Project helped UCI weave a stronger intellectual culture of sustainability by participating in and bringing together different threads of environmental and sustainability-related programming on campus. Through the project, the institute contributed staff expertise to UCI-wide conferences, student competitions, committees, and start-up faculty initiatives; hosted and co-sponsored environmental programming; and informally convened faculty environmental leadership for cross-pollination. The institute’s Community Engagement Project forged new collaborations between UCI and the regional community on emergent environmental and sustainability-related issues.