SIF187 GCRI-ERS: Grand Challenge Research Investment - Environmental Resilience and Sustainability

Approved: Summer 2022

Project Dates: 1/1/2023 – 12/31/2027

Total Funding: $45,000,000

Executive Summary

UVA’s Environmental Institute supports interdisciplinary research and training that is both great and good at the intersection of climate change and human well-being. The EI connects faculty, students, and citizens to create solutions for a more equitable, resilient, and sustainable future. We do this by 1) advancing interdisciplinary, pan-University collaboration and solutions- oriented research, focused on climate adaptation and mitigation, 2) translating research findings to policy and practice, 3) Training the next generation of researchers, and increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in climate-related research, and 4) Building an identity, organizational culture, and collaborative space for the institute as leader environmental research and solutions at UVA, delivering a strong national and international reputation for UVA in this domain. For each of these goals, we describe milestones, metrics, and timelines.

New and growing research collaborations are funded through Spark, CoLab, and Rapid seed grants. Climate Collaborative grants advance larger-scale and established interdisciplinary research teams, and help communities in the Commonwealth and globally adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change through use-inspired community-engaged research. Translational research is encouraged through our grant programs and often coproduced with communities increasing communication to broad, non-academic audiences to promote equitable climate solutions. Similarly, EI’s Practitioner Fellows program, enables non-profit, industry, and government thought leaders to share insights with students and develop new research concepts alongside faculty. Student training programs and postdoctoral Climate Fellowships provide mentorship and guidance to young professionals in climate-related research. The program maintains a culture of inclusion and enhanced diversity in all its forms, ensuring a legacy of good and great research at UVA.

Our programming provides significant value to the university and society by enhancing the understanding of climate change impacts, promoting sustainable practices, and empowering communities to adapt and mitigate environmental risks. By fostering collaboration between academia, policymakers, and stakeholders, the EI plays a vital role in advancing environmental resilience strategies that protect both natural resources and human well-being.

Our vision for this award is to enhance UVA’s contribution to climate change mitigation and adaptation by supporting interdisciplinary research and training that advances critical knowledge, provides solutions to communities, and fosters their implementation.