Many research centers housed at the University of Maryland are involved with finding solutions to environmental problems, in the local community and at global scales. The following are just a few of these centers.
The Building Science Group has launched the Cluster for Sustainability in the Built Environment at the University of Maryland (CITY@UMD). The Cluster’s mission is to understand the fundamental principals of build infrastructure’s impact on energy consumption, environmental quality, and the population well-being. This understanding enables the creation and management of healthy urban ecosystems.
The Center for Environmental Energy Engineering is a leader in research and education in environmentally responsible, economically feasible distributed energy conversion systems for buildings and transportation. CEEE provides innovative solutions to industry's research and development challenges and cost-effective, timely technology transfer. Researchers have developed a highly flexible and task-oriented consortium structure that emphasizes pre-competitive research. Sponsors include industrial companies and government agencies that pool research funds leveraged by additional support from the University of Maryland.
The Center for Social Value Creation innovates at the intersection of public policy, non-governmental organizations and the commercial sector to address social market failures. It offers students an educational core competency for exploring and solving the business model issues that currently limit organizations in their pursuit to do well by doing good. Their mission is to develop global leaders and nurture enterprises that address world challenges through social innovation, economic prosperity, and sustainable change. The center has three primary areas of focus: Social Entrepreneurship, Environmental Sustainability, and Business Model Innovation.
The Council on the Environment was established in 2012 in order to facilitate the university's efforts in becoming the forefront of environmental and earth system science. Since its inception, the council has helped distinguish the University of Maryland from other research institutions and also helped in developing relationships with the government agencies and laboratories as well as corporations and other universities.
The Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center is a joint center between the University of Maryland Departments of Atmospheric & Oceanic Science, Geology, Geography, and the Earth Sciences Directorate at the NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. ESSIC also administers the Cooperative Institute for Climate Studies (CICS), jointly with the NOAA National Satellite, Data, and Information Services (NESDIS) and the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP). The goal of ESSIC is to enhance our understanding of how the atmosphere, ocean, land, and biosphere components of the Earth interact as a coupled system and the influence of human activities on this system. This is accomplished via studies of the interaction between the physical climate system (e.g., El Nino) and biogeochemical cycles (e.g., greenhouse gases, changes in land use and cover).
The Environmental Finance Center (EFC) at the University of Maryland is one of nine University-based centers across the country providing communities with the tools and information necessary to manage change for a healthy environment and an enhanced quality of life. EFC believes that environmental finance can be used to develop a shared community vision. Our focus is protecting natural resources and watersheds by strengthening the capacity of local decision-makers to analyze environmental problems, develop innovative and effective methods of financing environmental efforts and educate communities about the role of finance and economic development in the protection of the environment.
The Joint Global Change Research Institute houses an interdisciplinary team dedicated to understanding the problems of global climate change and their potential solutions. Joint Institute staff bring decades of experience and expertise to bear in science, technology, economics, and policy. One of the strengths of the Joint Institute is a network of domestic and international collaborators that encourages the development of global and equitable solutions to the climate change problem. Initiated in early 2001, the Joint Institute brings together the intersecting interests of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the University of Maryland. Staff at the Joint Institute are focused on developing new opportunities to train University students in these interdisciplinary areas.
The mission of the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health (MIAEH) is to advance the prominent issue of translating research into effective public health practice, including research in environmental public health conducted to address occupational and environmental public health problems, on the factors which influence effective environmental public health practice, by providing education and training to occupational and environmental public health professionals. This is accomplished through a multi-disciplinary / multi-profession collaborative of faculty, students, and researchers, and by applying appropriate technologies to advance environmental public health research and education.
The Maryland Water Resources Research Center was established in 1965 to develop new technology and more efficient methods for resolving local, state and national water resources problems. In addition to supporting research, its mission includes training water scientists and engineers and disseminating information to the public. Comparable centers exist in every state, usually at the principal Land Grant University.
The National Center for Smart Growth is a non-partisan center for research and leadership training on Smart Growth and related land use issues nationally and internationally. The Center was founded in 2000 as a cooperative venture of five University of Maryland schools: Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Public Policy, Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Engineering. The mission of the Center is to bring the diverse resources of the University of Maryland and a network of national experts to bear on issues in land development, resource preservation and urban growth -- the nature of our communities, our landscape and our quality of life – through interdisciplinary research, outreach and education, thereby establishing the University as the national leader in this field.
The University of Maryland established the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SeSynC) in 2011 with the a $27.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation. It is one of the few research centers in the United States that is transdisciplinary, studying large-scale environmental issues. Through its efforts, SeSynC has brought different stakeholders and research fields together, learning more about the interactions between human and ecological systems. The research center has gathered and synthesized research solutions for clean water, sustainable food production, and more.
The Program for Society and the Environment creates a home at the University of Maryland for research on the study of society-environment. The Program is grounded in Maryland’s and BSOS’s strategic plan priorities to “be a force in fostering greater understanding of human relations and the natural environment.” This Program will create a hub for social scientists and students who study all aspects of the society-environment relationship.
The University of Maryland Energy Research Center (UMERC) is a multidisciplinary initiative dedicated to advancing the frontiers of energy science and technology, with a special focus on forward-looking approaches for alternative energy generation and storage. The Center will initially focus on four principal areas of energy technology research; it will also undertake research in energy policy and economics and educational programs.