Research

The global sustainability challenge encompasses many areas of inquiry, such as air, water, food, energy, mobility, climate change, built environment, land use and human behavior. However, efforts focused solely on individual elements will not produce the solutions our society requires. Transformative breakthroughs will only result by focusing at the intersections—applying innovative ideas and approaches that cut across natural, social, and technological boundaries.

At the University of Michigan, we seek to discover and disseminate breakthrough innovations at disciplinary interfaces to solve complex sustainability challenges and improve lives on local-to-global scales. Drawing on more than 850 sustainability-related faculty across our 19 Schools and Colleges, we possess tremendous intellectual assets to support this goal.

Measuring Sustainability Behavior

The Sustainability Culture Indicators Program (SCIP) regularly surveys and analyzes the campus community's knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors related to sustainability—helping the university to monitor progress, and make improvements, toward building an ethic of sustainability at U-M. Materials from SCIP include indicator reports and survey samples about transportation, waste prevention, conservation, and more. The program is a collaborative effort of the Institute for Social Research and the Graham Sustainability Institute.

Research Units

With more than $1 billion in research funding, the University of Michigan conducts a vast array of research supported by a superb infrastructure. The university's many sustainability-related units are critical components of these research endeavors. Please browse the list below to learn about these entities—and their respective roles in leading and supporting important sustainability research.

Academic Units

The School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS) is the primary ​academic home for faculty and students whose work focuses on these topics. As an interdisciplinary school, SEAS spans the university and brings together students and faculty from all of our schools to contribute their ideas and talents to this important work. All of our other Schools and Colleges also do important work related to the environment and sustainability.

Institutes
Centers, Partnerships, & Initiatives
Field Stations & Preserves
  • Biological Station. Founded in 1909, this Northern Michigan facility is dedicated to education and research in field biology and related environmental sciences.
  • Camp Davis Rocky Mountain Field Station.  U-M has maintained this Wyoming field station since 1929, providing unparalleled learning experiences for students.
  • Edwin S. George Reserve. U-M has maintained this preserve since 1930 for natural science research and education opportunities and to preserve the native flora and fauna
  • Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum. Established in 1907, these Ann Arbor treasures encompass 700+ acres of gardens, preserves, and research areas
  • Saginaw Forest. This 80-acre land parcel in Ann Arbor is used for forestry operations, research, and instruction.