EarthLab reimagines the world as it could be, while impacting the world as it is. Equal parts research engine and community catalyst, EarthLab harnesses the power of co-created solutions to our most imminent environmental challenges.


How do we do this?

  • A focused, human approach: EarthLab is focused where society’s needs are greatest and true impact can be made on people’s lives and livelihoods.
  • Designed for action: EarthLab is purpose-built, bringing the best talent and right resources to act with unprecedented urgency.
  • Co-create solutions: EarthLab engages external stakeholders in open dialogue to create meaningful science-based solutions.
  • Intellectual resources of UW: EarthLab unlocks the University’s proven science and broad expertise to address today’s wicked problems.

Building climate security and resilience

Reducing climate risks requires robust and reliable information that people can use when making decisions. Building on the work of the Climate Impacts Group and the Center for Health and the Global Environment, EarthLab will deepen our capacity to inform societal choices on climate change in the context of human health, smart cities, and environmental equity. A high priority is to seek projects that link CIG and CHanGE with emerging cross-UW initiatives including Urban @UW and Population Health. In addition, we will expand our work to tackle carbon pollution through innovations in law and policy (jointly with the Evans School of Public Policy and GovernanceUW School of Law and the College of Arts and Sciences) and through technology (with the College of Engineering).

Protecting ocean health

Oceans, estuaries and coastal habitats are changing quickly, driven by both natural processes and human activities. From the air we breathe to the seafood we eat, oceans play a critical role in our daily lives and the global economy. The Washington Ocean Acidification Center serves as a hub for timely and actionable research, training the next generation of scientists, managers, and decision-makers to face the challenges posed by ocean acidification. EarthLab investments will deepen the local work of Acidification Center while convening a global network of researchers and decision makers to address ocean acidification and sustainable fisheries worldwide. As in the area of climate resilience, collaboration with UW scholars in law, policy and governance will be critical to ensuring that the science addresses real-world issues.

Planning wisely for natural hazards

From earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, to devastating tsunamis and hurricanes, to large scale wildfires, the frequency and severity of major natural hazards increasingly devastate communities worldwide. While we cannot prevent natural hazards, we can stop them from becoming disasters by increasing our understanding of hazards and their potential consequences. Building on community resilience partnerships as well as regional and national collaborations for effective warning system development and deployment, EarthLab will catalyze new partnerships with external organizations to deliver state of the art information that will inform the policies and and decisions needed to build resilient communities, minimizing negative economic impacts and reduce loss of life. UW’s earthquake hazard community is well known for its innovative cross disciplinary approaches melding earth science, applied math, public policy, built environments and urban planning. EarthLab investments will use this interdisciplinary approach to address a wider range of natural hazards allowing us to address community resilience in the dace of multiple, interacting hazards.

Sustaining healthy ecosystems

Healthy ecosystems are the foundation on which society depends. We rely on them not only for clean water, food, fiber, and protection from storms, but also for mental and physical health and for awe and inspiration. Yet it is clear that human activities have compromised the functioning of ecosystems worldwide. The EarthLab Center for Creative Conservation is a hybrid think-tank, research group and innovation network of diverse partners that develops strategies to ensure ecosystem sustainability in natural and built environments. The Center promotes learning and collaboration among researchers and practitioners — from the environmental sciences, medicine and engineering to conservation strategies that foster sustainable social-ecological systems. Broadly interdisciplinary and widely networked, the Center aims to collectively expand our capacity to tackle emerging conservation challenges by leveraging the joint expertise, experience and assets of the UW and partner organizations.

Leadership

Advisory Board of Deans

  • Sandra O. Archibald, Evans School of Public Policy and Governance
  • Michael B. Bragg, College of Engineering
  • Bruce Burgett, Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences (UW Tacoma)
  • Lisa Graumlich, College of the Environment
  • Joel Kaufman, School of Public Health
  • John Schaufelberger, College of Built Environments
  • Elaine Scott, School of Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (UW Bothell)
  • Robert C. Stacey, College of Arts and Sciences

Executive Committee

  • Ann Bostrom, Evans School of Public Policy and Governance
  • Kristie Ebi, School of Public Health
  • Terrie Klinger, College of the Environment
  • Josh Lawler, College of the Environment
  • Jan Newton, Applied Physics Lab
  • Julian Olden, College of the Environment
  • David Schmidt, College of the Environment
  • Amy Snover, College of the Environment

Steering Committee

  • Marina Alberti, College of Built Environments
  • Eddie Allison, College of the Environment
  • Joel Baker, UW Tacoma
  • David Battisti, College of the Environment
  • Ann Bostrom, Evans School of Public Policy and Governance
  • Kyle Crowder, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Sara Curran, College of Arts and Sciences, Evans School of Public Policy and Governance
  • Kristie Ebi, School of Public Health
  • Martha Groom, UW Bothell School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, College of the Environment
  • Faisal Hossain, College of Engineering
  • Terrie Klinger, College of the Environment
  • Sanne Knudsen, School of Law
  • Josh Lawler, College of the Environment
  • Jan Newton, Applied Physics Lab
  • Julian Olden, College of the Environment
  • Aseem Prakesh College of Arts and Sciences
  • Daniel Schindler, College of the Environment
  • David Schmidt, College of the Environment
  • Amy Snover, College of the Environment
  • LuAnne Thompson, College of the Environment
  • Thaisa Way, College of Built Environments