Research for Solutions
Cloudy colored swirls of a phytoplankton bloom off the
The ambitious research agenda presented above is motivated by and seeks to inform a wide array of pressing global environmental issues. Following the example of modern medicine, we advocate a revolution in environmental practice that is fueled by knowledge born of fundamental research, aimed at areas of critical need, and realized through engineering and social innovation. In other words, with environment as with human health, basic and applied research must merge to create the knowledge and capabilities that solve problems.
This “research for solutions” orientation is already well established at MIT across a broad range of scientific, engineering and social research relevant to the environment. Important new areas of integrated, impact-oriented research embraced by GEI include:
- Developing carbon mitigation technologies and assessing the potential of geoengineering schemes to produce desired results versus unintended consequences.
- Creating and deploying new sensing technologies to drive our understanding of Earth’s oceans and how best to manage our use of and impact on them.
- Solving the riddle of affordable, equitable and sustainable global access to clean water through technological, economic and social innovation.
- Revealing the genetic and biogeochemical foundations of ecosystem function and resilience, and enabling strategies to restore and maintain the services they provide.
- Developing the technologies, practices and commitment to realize the environmental lifecycle benefits of benign-by-design materials and manufacturing.
- Exploring the sources, metrics and the very meaning of human welfare. How can it be optimized for societies and individuals across the world in a sustainable way?