The pace and extent of environmental change are now greater than any other time in human history. This reality places people, infrastructure, and ecosystems at risk and affects the critical resources needed to support a healthy and prosperous society. Because the past is no longer a reliable guide for the future, new approaches are needed that can help anticipate and prepare us for a future that includes changing probabilities and more extreme conditions. From climate change to water and energy security, today’s environmental challenges involve complex systems and cannot be solved by any single discipline. Their solutions require a paradigm shift to integrated team research that transcends disciplinary boundaries, and merges theories, methods, and data across social and environmental systems. By converging on a shared approach, teams will develop novel frameworks, theories, models, and applications that are transformative and have societal impact.
The Environmental Resilience Institute (ERI) is the hub of environmental resilience and sustainability research at the University of Virginia. ERI builds a diverse and collaborative community to accelerate the rate of discovery, trains the next generation of leaders in integrative research, and develops external partnerships to translate research findings into policy and practice. Over 100 faculty from 10 UVA schools are affiliated with the Institute. Focus areas evolve over time to reflect opportunities and need. Current priorities for ERI funding are Climate Resilience, Water and Energy Security, and Environment and Health.