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The University of Michigan is the nation’s largest public research university, with $1.62 billion in annual research expenditures. With three campuses, a health system and more than 200 centers and institutes, U-M researchers are working with partners on campus and beyond to address emerging problems, spur new technologies and drive the economy.

Aerial view of U-M's Ann Arbor campus

Interdisciplinary Cooperation

U-M researchers collaborate across a wide variety of disciplines in order to advance knowledge and solve challenging problems. The interdisciplinary environment at U-M has sparked a broad spectrum of cross-cutting projects and initiatives that address sustainability challenges related to population growth, climate change, land and water use, energy choices and poverty. Find U-M experts in sustainability and environmental science, across fields and academic units.

Putting Research to Practice

U-M has research strengths that build on advances in the basic sciences and engineering to pave the way for practical application. Translational sustainability research led by U-M spans from public health to business, policy, law and urban planning.


U-M students play a critical role in sustainability efforts at U-M, collaborating with faculty experts as part of their degree requirements. Through these undergraduate research experiences, students at all levels are advancing knowledge and developing the skills and passion to become future sustainability leaders. They are putting their knowledge and passion to work across campus through climate, environmental, and sustainability activities housed at Planet Blue Campus.


U-M engages in a broad spectrum of research partnerships with communities and government agencies to spur progress on critical issues in sustainability and environmental science around the world. Some of our key partnerships in water research include:

Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research

Hosted by U-M’s School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS), CIGLR is a partnership between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), universities, nongovernmental organizations and businesses. Together, they work to achieve environmental, economic and social sustainability in the Great Lakes. CIGLR consists of a research institute and a regional consortium.


Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments Program

GLISA is a collaboration of U-M and Michigan State University, funded by the NOAA. GLISA is part of a national network of NOAA Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISAs) that focus on adaptation to climate change and variability. GLISA is the NOAA RISA for the Great Lakes region.


Michigan Sea Grant

Michigan Sea Grant is a cooperative program of U-M, Michigan State University and NOAA. Together, they fund research, education and outreach projects designed to foster science-based decisions about the use and conservation of Great Lakes resources.


U-M Water Center

Working with scientists and partners, the U-M Water Center addresses water resource challenges in the Great Lakes region and nationally, by fostering collaborative research that informs policy and management decisions affecting our waters. Housed within U-M’s Graham Sustainability Institute, the center receives major support from the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation and NOAA.


SEAS Sustainability Clinic

The SEAS Sustainability Clinic aims to improve the ability of the City of Detroit and nonprofits serving the City to address the impacts of climate change on the natural and built environment, human health, and the city’s finances—while working to enhance sustainability policy and action.

SEAS sustainability clinic

Urban Collaboratory

The Urban Collaboratory draws together a community of scholars from across the University of Michigan campus to collaborate directly with city stakeholders to address targeted challenges that impact the health and livability of urban centers.