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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

The potential of mentorship, Graves and Johnson forge powerful bond

Neasha Graves enthusiastically shows a model of a human airway fashioned from a toilet paper roll, rubber bands and pink and red foam craft sheets to Mitierra Johnson. Graves is simulating a healthy airway and contrasting it with the airway … Continued


Wild Things Make Their Hearts Sing (Endeavors | Jan. 24, 2023)

In a small kitchen in western North Carolina, the smell of butter wafts through the air as Marie Young pulls shortbread from the oven. Several blankets drape across a worn couch and metal shelves line three of the walls, each … Continued


All Creatures Great and Small (UNC Research | Jan. 17, 2023)

As the last remnants of the sun streak the sky with purple and peach hues on this hot summer night, the trees by the Eno River fall silent. It’s one of those Carolina evenings that’s so humid, it’s as if … Continued

CMAS Conference

‘It is good to be back in person,’ CMAS Center hosts 21st annual conference to tackle complex air quality issues

The Community Modeling and Analysis System (CMAS) Center has served the air quality modeling and analysis community for more than two decades by providing access to open-source software that can be used to analyze air quality impacts and develop policies … Continued