Research

MIT is already a powerhouse of environmentally-oriented research, education, and innovation.  ESI builds on this vibrant foundation using seed grants to encourage new, cross-disciplinary research partnerships that advance progress and solutions on issues of environmental significance to humanity.

Earth is a supremely complex system, and our understanding of the underlying forces that support human life is incomplete in many key respects. Investments in environmental sciences are required both to improve our baseline knowledge of how these systems function and interact, and to improve our understanding of how humans are affecting and disrupting the intricately interconnected systems and cycles of life on earth. Novel analyses can improve the temporal and spatial resolution, as well as the certainty, of our understanding of human impact on the planet.

Insightful characterization of the problems we face is essential to recognize the nature and scope of environmental risks, and is the first step on the path toward solutions. ESI will expand and accelerate research toward environmental solutions within and beyond the MIT community.

ESI launched its Seed Grant Program in 2015 with a set of 9 funded, multi-investigator projects in Sustainability, Metals and Mining, Healthy Cities, and Climate/Risk/Mitigation. Moving forward, ESI will expand its resources to provide full grants that engage MIT researchers for 3 to 5 year periods in areas that directly contribute to pathways for mitigating carbon emissions and adapting to climate change as well as improving society’s response to a wide range of environmental challenges. 

Patagonia photo