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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

sea level rise

Research Reveals the Potential of Nature-Based Solutions for Increasing Resilience to Sea Level Rise (NCCOS | Aug. 22, 2023)

As we confront the escalating threats of climate change, there is growing interest in the potential of restored nature to offer a sustainable and effective response to the challenges posed by sea-level rise (SLR). Previous research has shown that by … Read more

Sargassum in the Atlantic Ocean.

A new, long-term study by researchers at UNC-Chapel Hill finds nitrogen fixation hotspots in Atlantic seaweed

A new study by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill examined nitrogen fixation among diazotrophs—microorganisms that can convert nitrogen into usable form for other plants and animals—living among sargassum. Sargassum, a brown macroalgae in the seaweed … Read more

Troy Walton

From U.S. Marine Corps to UNC-Chapel Hill, Walton brings drone expertise to environmental research

Troy Walton is one of the newest senior research associates at the UNC Institute for the Environment, leading research and growth in the Carolina Drone Lab, where he is helping to pioneer the use of drones to study ecosystems and … Read more

girl with inhaler

Joint study from UNC and Boston University finds air pollution from oil and gas production responsible for $77 billion in annual U.S. health damages including thousands of early deaths, childhood asthma cases nationwide

These health impacts affected communities in states with high oil and gas production, as well as states with limited or no gas activity, underlining the need for comprehensive regulatory action to protect Americans from the pollutants generated by this sector. … Read more