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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

David Salvesen

Salvesen to retire after two decades at Carolina

This month, David Salvesen will celebrate retirement after a career spanning two decades at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His professional story tells of the importance of people in the environmental field, as he leaves behind a … Continued


Empowering the next generation (The Well | Sept. 27, 2021)

An abnormal heat wave in the Pacific Northwest so hot it melts powerlines. Record-breaking hurricane seasons that bring more severe storms each year. Excessive flooding that forces entire families in Eastern North Carolina to relocate. As climate disasters make headlines … Continued


Sustainable Carolina debuts podcast featuring Mike Piehler (Sustainable Carolina | May 28, 2021)

This week on the Sustainable Carolina podcast Chief Sustainability Officer and Director of the UNC Institute for the Environment, Mike Piehler goes in depth on the flurry of sustainability news that happened in April and unpacking the transition to sustainable … Continued

UNC capstone students engage Greater Duffyfield residents regarding beloved recreation center

Stanley White dressed in New Bern baseball uniform (Loaned by Cleo White and Pamela White-Holloway to New Bern-Craven County Public Library) UNC students in one of last semester’s environmental studies capstones sought to help a historically Black community strengthen its … Continued