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. Addressing any one of these areas requires significant new discovery and the application of new knowledge. 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.
Interdisciplinary sustainability research is thriving at the University of Michigan, where we are working to discover and disseminate breakthrough innovations to help solve complex sustainability issues and improve lives on local-to-global scales. Several hundred U-M faculty members are actively working on these critical issues. More importantly, these researchers work across disciplinary boundaries in pursuit of the critical advances needed to help solve complex sustainability problems.
While U-M researchers are engaged in groundbreaking work on countless aspects of the global sustainability challenge, we are initially clustering efforts around three thematic areas:
- Fostering Sustainable Freshwater Systems
- Creating Livable Communities
- Responding to Climate Variability and Change
These themes leverage U-M's broad disciplinary strengths; build upon existing institutional capabilities; and, offer high potential for achieving significant impact in the world.
Please browse this website to learn more about the multidisciplinary, solutions-oriented sustainability research happening at U-M, and please click here for videos from the 2011 Global Sustainability Conference (organized by the Office of the Vice President for Research).