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The UNC Institute for the Environment focuses its research on critical issues that lie at the heart of our most pressing environmental challenges. Each issue is addressed by campus-wide collaborations between Institute faculty and essential disciplines, integrating research, education and engagement in solving the world’s pressing environmental issues and advancing the health and well-being of communities in North Carolina and around the world.

The Institute’s critical areas of study focus on:

  • Financial risk in environmental systems.  The Center on Financial Risk in Environment Systems is a newly launched partnership between UNC’s Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, a part of the Gillings School of Global Public Health, and the UNC Institute for the Environment. The center seeks to demystify the financial risks that environmental events impose on society through developing integrated models of the environmental, economic and engineered systems related to each sector to more fully understand their financial vulnerabilities.
  • Air quality modeling. This area of study is coordinated through the Institute’s Center for Environmental Modeling for Policy Development, focusing on the development of advanced computational and visualization tools needed to understand the relationships between environmental policies, environmental processes and key indicators of environment and health.

These programs build on UNC’s long and distinguished tradition of environmental research. You can learn about the Institute’s work in these areas, as well as that of collaborating campus centers, programs, and institutes, departments and individual faculty, by visiting any of the links above.

Faculty and fellows can utilize the Institute’s Research Services to complete their research in the above topics. The Institute’s affiliations with several research facilities across North Carolina bring access for faculty and fellows at those locations as well.

Latest Research News


Carolina’s drone lab takes off (UNC News | June 28, 2021)

Recently launched to provide a hub for innovative drone and sensing technologies at Carolina, CARDNL serves as a collaborative resource for faculty and student researchers to use for a host of research endeavors.

New study identifies leading source of health damages from vehicle pollution in 12 states and Washington, D.C.

Press contact: Emily Williams,, 919-962-0965 Tailpipe emissions caused an estimated 7,100 premature deaths in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic in 2016 A new study finds that ozone and fine particulate matter from vehicle emissions in 2016 led to an estimated … Continued


Piehler presents preliminary findings to NC Senate Select Committee on flood resilience

The North Carolina General Assembly’s Senate Select Committee on Storm Related River Debris and Damage in NC met in April and heard from a host of entities from academic, government and non-profit organizations working on flood resilience in the state. … Continued


Clear Skies Ahead Podcast: Conversations about Careers in Meteorology and Beyond (The American Meteorological Society | May 26, 2021)

We talk to Sarav Arunachalam, Deputy Director at the Institute for the Environment and Acting Director for the Center for Environmental Modeling for Policy Development at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill about about his early work in … Continued