Interschool Research

UC Irvine faculty and students are engaged in several major interdisciplinary sustainability research (pdf) and teaching endeavors, often in conjunction with communities facing sustainability challenges. A sampling of current initiatives:

  • Water UCI – The interschool Water UCI Initiative fosters collaboration in the fields of fundamental and applied water science, technology, engineering, management and policy. Water UCI team tackles “grand challenges” – high-consequence, high-uncertainty problems that entail unprecedented mitigation costs, have the potential to generate social conflict, and may be approaching irreversibility. California is used as both a point of departure to address global water issues and a benchmark for applying innovations in areas such as water resource monitoring, groundwater management, wastewater recycling and demand-side management. Water UCI activities focus on interdisciplinary research, curriculum development, and community outreach events.
  • Salton Sea Initiative – The Salton Sea Initiative is an interdisciplinary collaboration based at UCI and working to promote understanding about the sustainability challenges facing the Salton Sea region. This work takes many forms: facilitation and collaboration on various research efforts in the natural and social sciences; teaching, curriculum development, and empowering our students to teach; and working with regional partners to create avenues for public discourse about the future of the Salton Sea.
  • FloodRISE  – This NSF-funded project seeks to understand what factors and conditions allow parcel-level prediction of urban flooding to catalyze behavioral change in flood vulnerable communities.
  • UCI Water-PIRE – This NSF-funded project catalyzes, through research and education, the development and deployment of low-energy options (LEOs) for improving water productivity while protecting human and ecosystem health. Watch the UCI Water-PIRE undergraduate program video here.
  • Borrego Springs Water Sustainability and Climate – This project evaluates the integrated water infrastructure of the arid, closed-basin Borrego Springs Aquifer System using a participatory science framework.

To learn more about interschool sustainability scholarship at UC Irvine, or to feature your work on this page, please email

Research Services
The Sustainability Initiative does not conduct research. Rather, when resources permit, the Initiative buttresses campus research strengths by helping to develop faculty-led interdisciplinary research proposals and other special projects. Research proposal support comes in the form of research, writing, editing, project management, and project design. Special projects support comes in the form of idea incubation, group facilitation, networking, resource sharing, and other staff expertise. When appropriate, the Initiative coordinates efforts with the Offices of Research and Advancement.

Faculty: To learn more about the the Sustainability Initiative’s research services, please email

Civic and community leaders: To learn more about how the Sustainability Initiative helps build links between communities seeking assistance with a sustainability-related research questions and UC Irvine faculty and student researchers, learn more about our Engagement Program.