ERI Catalyzes Three New Research Initiatives
The Environmental Resilience Institute (ERI), established in 2017, is the hub of environmental resilience and sustainability research at the University of Virginia. From coastal zones, to water, urbanization, and energy security, the Institute brings pre-eminent UVA faculty, students, and external partners together to conduct trans-disciplinary research at the intersection of environmental change and human wellbeing to foster a more sustainable future for the global common good. Today’s environmental challenges are more complex than ever, requiring a deep knowledge of social and environmental systems, how they interrelate, and collectively react to change. No one disciplinary perspective is capable of providing all the expertise required to meet the challenge. It is now widely recognized in academia that what’s needed now is a team-based approach to science. Team-science links socio-environmental systems in new ways in order to discover and implement unprecedented innovations as efficiently and effectively as possible. ERI funds CoLab projects to help faculty work across disciplines in new areas of inquiry. ERI recently funded three initiatives to building on the mission:
- Promoting Resilience Of Arctic Cities And Landscapes
- The RAFT: Landscape Scale Approach to Motivating Localities to Take Meaningful Action to Increase Resilience
- Coupled Human–Natural Capital Lab (CoH-N) for Resilient Coastal Futures
Promoting Resilience Of Arctic Cities And Landscapes Arctic cities and the landscapes within which they are situated. The goal of this work will be to engage with community leaders, researchers, and cultural and environmental agencies in Utqiagvik and elsewhere in Alaska to study the intersections between the built and natural environments in this extreme ecosystem, and to explore the adaptations and transformations that are occurring (and those that need to occur) due to the effects of climate change. The initiative is expected to provide insights that can be used by communities to develop strategies promoting their long-term resilience. The Institute plays a critical role in catalyzing, supporting, and integrating socio-environmental research across the university. Research fostered by the institute enables decision-makers––from home-owners to city administrators to business owners––to make informed choices and consider a set of actionable policy options. We are fundamentally advancing the way resilience and sustainability research gets done by using cutting-edge observation, modeling, and visualization tools to understand socio-environmental systems. UVA faculty across the university are finding novel insights using big data, technological innovation, and the integration of design and research thinking to help our partners see their interconnected world at multiple scales.