University of Minnesota
Environment & Sustainability Portal
Environment and Sustainability Portal

Environmental Centers and Labs



Campus Wide

Institute on the Environment

The Institute on the Environment is discovering solutions to Earth's biggest problems through research, partnerships and leadership development around the themes of energy, freshwater, food, land, ecosystems, population and development. Programs include Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment (IREE) grants for innovative renewable energy research; resident fellow, graduate, and postdoctoral support; Discovery Grants; and an undergraduate sustainability minor. Learn more about how IonE is changing our community and our world at


Twin Cities

Bell Museum of Natural History

The James Ford Bell Museum of Natural History was established by state legislative mandate in 1872 to collect, preserve, skillfully prepare, display and interpret our state's diverse animal and plant life for scholarly research and teaching and for public appreciation, enrichment, and enjoyment. Its governance belongs, by state legislative designation, to the University of Minnesota.

Center for Animal Health and Food Safety

The Center for Animal Health and Food Safety proactively contributes to the safety and security of the global food system and significantly strengthens Minnesota's ability to anticipate and respond to emerging issues and imminent threats from animal and foodborne diseases.

Center for Science, Technology, and Public Policy

The Center for Science, Technology and Public Policy's mission is to improve people’s lives by advancing the application of science and technology to solve public problems. CSTPP explores the increasingly important role that science and technology play in our society and examines their implications for public policy at the international, national and state levels.

Center for Sustainable Building Research

CSBR provides research and activity in the following areas: sustainable design, energy-efficient buildings, windows and glazing research, improved building delivery process, affordable housing, building science and engineering, and human factors in transportation.

Center for Sustainable Polymers

The Center for Sustainable Polymers (CSP) integrates science, technology, and public policy initiatives and research aimed at reducing our dependence on petrochemical feedstocks for the ubiquitous plastics we use every day.

Center for Transportation Studies

CTS addresses the need for closer cooperation between University faculty and state and federal departments of transportation, and strengthens the University's role in transportation research, outreach and education.

Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA)

The Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) is an a University-wide applied research and technology center that connects faculty and students with community organizations and public institutions working on significant public policy issues in Minnesota.

Institute for Advanced Study

The Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) seeks to ignite creative, innovative, and profound research and discovery in the sciences, humanities, and the arts. The IAS is a site, concept, and a community dedicated to public and intellectual exchanges across the fields of human endeavor.

Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change

The ICGC seeks to foster an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural community of faculty and graduate students committed to studying global change, especially as seen in the global south and addressing issues of peace, conflict, security, social and environmental change, justice, human rights, development and international cooperation.

International Science and Technology Practice and Policy Center (InSTePP)

InSTePP undertakes economic research and fosters professional dialogue to inform and thereby influence strategic policy choices and actions dealing with science and technology. The center deals with both the public and private dimensions of science and technology, and their implications for the conduct, performance and economic consequences of R&D worldwide.

Metropolitan Design Center

The Metropolitan Design Center is an emerging design and research-based institution belonging to the College of Design at the University of Minnesota. The Center was conceived to facilitate an environment for creative thinking and community engagement while fostering an integrative view of the City, bringing together many fields of research to advance innovative urban design strategies for the achievement of sustainable cities and regions in the State of Minnesota.

Minnesota Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit

The Minnesota Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit emphasizes research on impacts of human activities on aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems that are of state, regional, and national significance. The research program addresses not only the biological, but also social and economic aspects of both game and nongame fisheries and wildlife management in the context of maintenance of biological diversity, and integrity and sustainability of ecosystems.

Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture

MISA's purposes is to bring together the agricultural community and the University community in a cooperative effort to develop and promote sustainable agriculture in Minnesota and beyond. We strive to balance the long-term economic, ecological and social aspects of agricultural systems.

Minnesota Population Center

The Minnesota Population Center (MPC) is a University-wide interdisciplinary cooperative for demographic research. The MPC has a special focus on large-scale demographic infrastructure projects.  One of our central missions is to provide tools for the study of economic and social change and to encourage a historical approach to social policy analysis.

National Center for Earth-Surface Dynamics (NCED)

NCED’s purpose is to predict the coupled dynamics and evolution of landscapes and their ecosystems, in order to transform management and restoration of the Earth-surface environment.

Raptor Center

The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine specializes in the medical care of, public education about, and conservation of eagles, hawks, owls, and falcons. In addition to treating approximately 800 birds a year, the internationally known program provides training in raptor medicine and surgery for veterinarians and leads the CVM's thrust into Ecosystem Health

Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships

The University's regional partnerships combine citizen leadership with the research and education resources of the University of Minnesota to foster long term sustainability in the Minnesota, with particular attention focusing on agriculture, natural resources, renewable energy, and tourism.

St. Anthony Falls Laboratory

The lab's mission is threefold: 1) to advance fundamental knowledge in engineering, environmental, geophysical and biological fluid mechanics by conducting cross-cutting research that integrates various disciplines; 2) to benefit society by implementing this knowledge to develop physics-based, affordable, and sustainable engineering solutions; and 3) to disseminate new knowledge to our students, the engineering and scientific community and the public.

Water Resources Center

The Water Resources Center's research encompasses several major topics: agriculture and water quality; lakes and rivers; safe drinking water; wastewater; and watershed management. Students can study in the graduate program in Water Resources Science.


Center for Sustainable Community Development (CSCD)

The Center for Sustainable Community Development (CSCD) was created to help communities transition from global dependence to community self-reliance by designing and implementing economically attractive, as well as socially and environmentally sustainable, local energy production systems.

Center for Water and the Environment

The Center for Water and the Environment is committed to understanding problems and developing tools for solving problems that impede the environmentally sound development of the economy.

Geographic Information Sciences Laboratory

The Geographic Information Sciences Laboratory is used as a teaching facility for all of the GIS and cartography courses in the Department of Geography. In addition, its staff and its services contribute to the UMD Campus as an educational resource, and as a research facility for cartographic and geographic information system (GIS) needs.

Large Lakes Observatory

Located on the Duluth campus of the University of Minnesota, the Large Lakes Observatory (LLO) is the only institute in the country dedicated to the study of large lakes throughout the world. They focus on the global implications of their investigations in the areas of aquatic chemistry, circulation dynamics, geochemistry, acoustic remote sensing, plankton dynamics, sedimentology and paleoclimatology.

Minnesota Sea Grant

Minnesota Sea Grant's mission is to facilitate interaction among the public and scientists to enhance communities, the environment and economies along Lake Superior and Minnesota's inland waters by identifying information needs, fostering research, and communicating results.

Natural Resources Research Institute

NRRI’s goal is to foster economic development of Minnesota’s natural resources in an environmentally-sound manner to promote private sector employment.


Center for Sustainability

The University of Minnesota, Crookston, Center for Sustainability is charged with providing overall leadership for sustainability, while at the same time encouraging broad participation from across the campus, community, and region.


Renewable Energy Research and Demonstration Center

Strategic investments in wind energy, biomass, biofuels, and hydrogen systems have positioned the University of Minnesota Renewable Energy Center as a premier renewable energy incubator in the Midwest.

Renewable Energy Research & Demonstration Facility

The Renewable Energy Research & Demonstration Facility will enhance the West Central Research and Outreach Center's agricultural and renewable energy research and demonstration systems while providing critical outreach and educational space.

Minneasota Sea Grant

Lakr Superior from space

With nearly 12,000 lakes and a shoreline on the world's largest bodies of fresh water, Minnesota possesses a bounty of aquatic and coastal resources. Through scientific research and public education programs, Minnesota Sea Grant works to enhance Minnesota’s coastal environment and economy.