Environmental Change Initiative

Priorities Eci 2

At the Notre Dame Environmental Change Initiative (ND-ECI), more than 40 affiliated faculty from five different colleges pursue research solutions to the key environmental challenges of our time, including controlling and managing invasive species, preventing runoff from agricultural fertilizer, helping people and ecosystems adapt to climate change, and improving water quality and quantity. ND-ECI focuses on globally significant, transformative research that can be translated into policy solutions that help make the world a better place for humans and for the environment upon which people depend. We call it "Science Serving Society."

ECI is dedicated to globally significant, multidisciplinary research that is applicable and directly relevant to policymakers, businesses, the nonprofit community, and members of the public. The goal of ND-ECI is to provide solutions that minimize the trade-offs between human welfare and environmental health where trade-offs are unavoidable and to discover win-win solutions where they are possible.

A Force For Good

The great universities of the 21st century will be those that discover solutions to our most pressing global challenges, such as clean water resources, climate change, and sustainable land use. Recognizing that it is our responsibility to make a difference, ND-ECI is home to the world’s leading climate change index, ND-GAIN.

ND-GAIN is a free and open-source tool that helps corporate and government leaders manage risks exacerbated by climate change, such as overcrowding, food insecurity, inadequate infrastructure, and civil conflicts. It shows a country’s level of vulnerability and the readiness of a country to successfully implement adaptation solutions.

Research with a Purpose

ECI is committed to tackling real-world problems with translational, applicable research solutions. For instance, the Notre Dame Linked Experimental Ecosystem Facility (ND-LEEF) is a globally unique research facility located five miles north of campus in South Bend’s St. Patrick’s County Park. ND-LEEF contains artificial ponds “linked” to artificial streams and wetlands. Here our researchers are conducting innovative projects that help solve complex environmental problems, including the interrelated problems of invasive species, land use, and climate change and their synergistic impacts on freshwater.


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