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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

2020 Year in Review

This year held challenges that few anticipated and brought untold adversity to so many. We are grateful that our research, education and outreach endeavors could continue in modified capacities. The environmental field sites sustained in-person instruction with stringent public health … Continued


waterloop #67: Philip Berke on Planning for Resilient Communities (waterloop podcast | Dec. 14, 2020)

In this episode Philip explains the pressing need for communities to focus on planning to become more resilient to climate change. He discusses a variety of approaches, from hardening of infrastructure to managed retreats, that communities are taking in places … Continued

Carol and Janina

As IDEA program for underrepresented students concludes, new program funded and in development

The UNC Institute for the Environment hosted its final cohort of six IDEA (Increasing Diversity and Enhancing Academia) students this summer, matching a total of 78 students with geoscience internships between 2012 and 2020. IDEA, which has been funded by … Continued

Lindsay Dubbs

Dubbs recognized by U.S. Dept. of Energy for leadership in clean energy ( | Dec. 1, 2020)

Congratulations to our own Lindsay Dubbs, co-director of our Outer Banks Field Site! Dubbs is 1 of 9 women to be recognized by U.S. Department of Energy for her achievements and leadership in clean energy as part of the U.S Clean … Continued