About the Princeton Environmental Institute
An Interdisciplinary Approach to Environmental Research, Education and Outreach
Founded in 1994, the Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI) is the interdisciplinary center of environmental research, education, and outreach at Princeton University.
Our mission is to advance knowledge and to develop the next generation of leadership by providing outstanding academic programs and opportunities for advanced scholarship, research, and civic engagement.
PEI draws its strength from 90 members of the Princeton faculty, representing more than 25 academic disciplines, whose research and teaching focuses on the scientific, technical, policy, and human dimensions of environmental issues. PEI functions as a central resource for faculty, post docs, students, alumni, and others with interests in environmental topics.
PEI's research interests are distinguishable from other (environmentally focused) research activities at Princeton as endeavors involving faculty and research affiliates work across disciplinary lines. PEI's principal research centers address complex issues surrounding global change; energy and climate; biogeochemical cycles; molecular geochemistry; biodiversity; conservation; environmental science and policy; infectious disease and global health; and sustainable development in impoverished and resource-challenged regions of the world.
The Program in Environmental Studies is open to undergraduate students from all academic disciplines. Participation is well distributed with balance across the sciences, engineering, social sciences, and humanities. Students with interest in environmental topics benefit from a wide array of courses, internships, and research funding opportunities. Students who wish to demonstrate proficiency may pursue a Certificate in Environmental Studies.
The PEI-STEP Program is PEI's primary vehicle for graduate study. The program, operated as an adjunct to the Woodrow Wilson School's program in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy (STEP), allows graduate students in science, engineering, and other academic disciplines to participate in the Woodrow Wilson School's STEP program while developing an environmental policy dimension of their doctoral thesis. PEI offers additional opportunities for graduate fellowship and support including the Princeton Energy and Climate Scholars (PECS) group and research funding for graduate students with specialized interests in related areas.
In 2007, in collaboration with the School of Engineering and Applied Science and the Woodrow Wilson School, PEI launched the Grand Challenges Program to address some of the world’s most vexing environmental problems through an integrated research and teaching program. The program draws upon strengths in the scholarship of resident Princeton faculty while defining new directions in research and collaboration across disciplinary lines to seek solutions to focal problems of energy and climate; sustainable development in Africa; and global health and infectious disease.
An essential element of the Grand Challenges Program is a commitment to create innovations in undergraduate teaching and learning by designing new courses, internships, and opportunities for undergraduate research in and around faculty research cooperatives. Post doctoral and graduate fellowships are also essential elements of the integrated research and teaching model.
Outreach and Events
PEI offers an ambitious array of programs, seminars, events, lectures, and conferences for the benefit of faculty, students, members of the extended University community, and others with interest in environmental topics. Recent events and lecture series have included topics in environmental ethics; climate; energy; environmental justice; agriculture; biofuels; oil, energy and the Middle East; biodiversity; and sustainability.