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The GCSC will catalyze, cultivate, and coordinate scholarly and creative research and practice on global change and/or sustainability.

Research themes

Researchers at the University of Utah explore questions related to global change and sustainably meeting human needs with a broad spectrum of approaches. These efforts generally touch on one or more of nine themes: air quality, built environment and communities, climate change, ecological and environmental change, energy, food systems, justice and equity, nature and culture, and water. Explore these research themes here.


Drive strategic faculty growth

Faculty affiliation with the GCSC has grown dynamically since the center’s creation, and we continue to seek out the faculty on campus whose work contributes to the grand challenges we aim to alleviate, while maintaining meaningful affiliations with the excellent faculty already engaged. We will also work to identify strategic areas for faculty growth with new hiring opportunities and particular support for hires of underrepresented faculty demographics.

Seed and incentivize faculty and student contribution to interdisciplinary research

We recognize the importance of strong disciplinary research in the work that we do and will work to engage disciplinary researchers in the interdisciplinary challenges that we strive to solve. Read more on faculty seed grants and on student research funding.

Advance research including the use of living laboratories on campus, at field stations, and within communities

The scholars engaged with the GCSC have a strong history of field-based work that utilizes the unique resources available to us locally. We will continue to focus on finding ways to use campus as a living lab, support research and education at university field stations, and promote community engaged research.

Provide faculty with tools to facilitate successful interdisciplinary research

Many faculty of the GCSC have experience in interdisciplinary research collaborations, and we hope to find ways to share these lessons and tools with those who are interested in doing interdisciplinary research.

Support faculty leaders to catalyze work in each of the nine research themes

GCSC faculty have demonstrated interdisciplinary research strengths in the following nine areas: air quality, built environment and community, climate change, ecological and environmental change, energy, food systems, justice equity and diversity, nature and culture, and water. These are broad and overlapping themes that are not intended to silo scholars into a particular area, but rather to organize efforts and identify opportunities. We will work to strategically support research in all areas, while prioritizing focused efforts in some areas as opportunities and needs arise.