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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


UPDATE: IE researchers release preliminary results on TRECH project

The Transportation, Equity, Climate and Health (TRECH) study is a multi-institution ongoing study at IE, in partnership with 3 other schools of Public Health at Harvard, Boston University and Columbia.  This study, funded by the Barr Foundation is in support … Continued


Doing COVID-19 Dirty Work (Endeavors | Sept. 8, 2020)

Employing wastewater epidemiology — proven useful in outbreaks of polio and opioid use — UNC microbiologist Rachel Noble is leading a state-wide collaboration tracking novel coronavirus outbreaks across North Carolina, gaining insight that testing individuals does not offer. Preliminary results … Continued


Addressing Pandemic Problems (Endeavors | Sept. 17, 2020)

Sarav Arunachalam is quantifying how reduced vehicular air emissions due to stay-at-home orders have affected air quality and public health. “At the end of the day, I think there’s a lot more to be done. There’s so much information coming … Continued

Claire Johnson

Former field site student awarded prestigious NSF Fellowship

Claire Johnson, a student in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Environment, Ecology and Energy Program (E3P) and former IE field site student,  recently was awarded a competitive Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The … Continued