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Earth Insitute Columbia University

The Earth Institute at Columbia University

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Earth Institute Directory

Earth Institute in the World

Research Centers

The Earth Institute at Columbia University is the world's leading academic center for the integrated study of Earth, the environment, and society. It builds upon excellence in the core disciplines -- earth sciences, biological sciences, engineering sciences, social sciences, and health sciences -- and stresses cross-disciplinary approaches to complex problems. Through its own research and training and its global partnerships, it mobilizes science and technology to advance sustainable development, placing special emphasis on the needs of the world's poor. The Earth Institute is the natural outcome of Columbia University's commitment to enhance understanding of global sustainability and its recognition that true success depends upon the concerted efforts of physical, biological, and social scientists in cooperation with an informed and involved citizenry.

Earth Sciences

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO)
The Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory is the leading research center in the world, examining the planet from core to atmosphere, across every continent and every ocean, from global climate change to earthquakes, volcanoes, shrinking resources, environmental hazards, and beyond.

Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS)
The Goddard Institute for Space Studies at Columbia University is the only urban laboratory of the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA). Scientists develop simulation models to explore natural human influences on climate systems.

Center for Rivers and Estuaries
The Center For Rivers and Estuaries focuses its research on three areas: the maintenance of the Hudson River and New York Harbor as vital transportation arteries; ways to use the water system for commercial and domestic purposes without adversely impacting the watershed and its many ecosystems; and how the diverse estuary fisheries can be maintained for both recreational and commercial use.

Center for Climate Systems Research

The Center for Climate Systems Research is a unit of Columbia University's Earth Institute and was established in 1994 for the purpose of enhancing the program of interdisciplinary Earth and Climate systems research both at Columbia and the NASA/Goddard Institute for Space Studies.


The Black Rock Forest
The Black Rock Forest is a 3,750 acre (1,500ha) preserve dedicated to scientific research, education, and conservation of the natural ecosystem that once covered this entire region. Located in the Hudson Highlands on the west bank of the Hudson River, 50 miles (80km) north of New York City, the area is home to numerous ponds, wetlands, and great biological diversity.

Center for Environmental Research and Conservation (CERC)
A consortium of five leading science and education institutions — Columbia University, the American Museum of Natural History, The New York Botanical Garden, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and the Wildlife Trust — the Center for Environmental Research and Conservation employs a wide array of resources to train the next generation of environmental leaders charged with conserving Earth's biological diversity.


The Earth Engineering Center (EEC)
Founded in 1996, the Earth Engineering Center includes some twenty engineering faculty members and a diversified group of specialists from several Columbia schools as well as other universities and environmental organizations. Part of the historic Henry Krumb School of Mines, and closely linked to its new academic program in Earth and environmental engineering, the Center is uniquely equipped to meet the challenges of managing planetary resources in the twenty-first century.

Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy (LCSE)
The mission of the Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy is to develop technologies and institutions to ensure a sufficient supply of environmentally sustainable energy for all humanity. To meet this goal, the Center supports research programs in energy science, engineering and policy across Columbia University to develop technical and policy solutions that will satisfy the world’s future energy needs without threatening to destabilize the Earth's natural systems.


The Center for Global Health and Economic Development (CGHED)
The Center for Global Health and Economic Development is a collaboration between the Mailman School of Public Health and the Earth Institute at Columbia University. Through partnerships with the United Nations, the World Health Organization, and private donors, existing programs with demonstrated success will be ramped up to reach a broader base, and new programs will be developed to address critical global health issues. Initiatives focus on a wide range of issues, such as AIDS, tuberculosis, maternal mortality, reproductive health, gender equity, sexuality, environmental contamination (arsenic), forced migration and health, assistance and human rights.

The Center for National Health Development in Ethiopia
The Center for National Health Development in Ethiopia is a project of the Earth Institute in support of accelerated expansion of primary health care facilities in Ethiopia. It will provide technical assistance to the Federal Ministry of Health and regional health bureaus in their effort to increase access and equity of essential health care services for the under-served rural population of Ethiopia. A large part of the Center's work is to provide support for the Health Extension Program (HEP), a Federal Ministry of Health project that plans to train 24,000 health workers over five years to provide basic health information and services throughout Ethiopia. After training the graduates will be placed in 15,000 villages (average population 5,000 each) for a total coverage of over 12 million people throughout the country by 2010. The first three thousand health workers will graduate their one-year training course in December 2004.

Social Sciences

The Center on Globalization and Sustainable Development (CGSD)
The Center on Globalization and Sustainable Development is the focal point for the Earth Institute's social sciences activities. The research programs and country advising projects undertaken at CGSD reflect the Earth Institute's emphasis on cross-disciplinary collaboration. We are committed to crafting innovative solutions to international development problems in an effort to achieve sustainable development and poverty reduction.

The Program on Science, Technology, and Global Development
The program on Science, Technology, and Global Development is dedicated to study of the processes of technological change, and of the advance of the scientific knowledge that underlies many modern technologies, in order to gain a better understanding both of the factors that have led to such amazing progress, and of the reasons why that progress has been so uneven.  Our belief is that better understanding in itself can significantly improve the policy-making processes bearing on these issues.  But the program is dedicated, as well, to trying to inform directly the policy-making processes in key areas. 

The Center for the Study of Science and Religion (CSSR)
The Center for the Study of Science and Religion is an interdisciplinary, inter-school, collaborative forum for the examination of issues lying at the boundary of scientific and religious ways of comprehending the world. The center will help social scientists incorporate religious experiences and rituals in models or predictions of human behavior, and will have a particular focus on the science involved in social planning, scientific research policy, and strategies for the protecting the future of the planet.

Laboratory of Populations
A joint venture of Columbia University and The Rockefeller University, the Laboratory of Populations provides insight into population increase/decrease, the spread of diseases in households and communities, and the social structures that are essential to human health and well-being.

The Center on Capitalism and Society
The central question before the Center on Capitalism & Society is what determines a country's ability to generate, select, create, develop, and adopt good commercial ideas and thus achieve economic success. This task needs an applicable theory of capitalism in which the discovery of viable ideas is the crucial activity and in which novice and veteran entrepreneurs and financiers are key actors.

The Center for Sustainable Urban Development (CSUD)
The mission of the Center for Sustainable Urban Development is the advancement of physically and socially sustainable global urban development patterns. CSUD’s initial project, funded by the Volvo Research and Education Foundations, is to establish ongoing research and educational exchanges in three cities in developing countries focused on land use and transport planning.

The Columbia Program on International Investment (CPII)
The Columbia Program on International Investment (CPII) seeks to be a leader on issues related to foreign direct investment (FDI) in the global economy. The CPII focuses on the analysis and teaching of the implications of FDI for public policy and international investment law. Its objectives are to analyze important topical policy-oriented issues related to FDI, develop and disseminate practical approaches and solutions, and provide students with a challenging learning environment.


Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN)
The Center for International Earth Science Information Network aims to serve the Earth data and information needs of science and public and private decision makers worldwide through training, education, and technical consultation.

International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI)
Founded in 1996, the International Research Institute for Climate and Society aims to improve environmental sustainability through the use of climate prediction science. From climate forecasting and modeling to fishery management, the Institute helps communities to better manage the challenges posed by climate fluctuation.

Tropical Agriculture Program
The Tropical Agriculture Program of the Earth Institute at Columbia University is dedicated to research, policy advising, and educational activities that address the interactions between agricultural production, environmental quality and human well-being. Through research, policy advising, education and training, the program seeks to address the links between environment, agriculture, health, poverty, and economic growth.

The Center for Hazards and Risk Research (CHRR)
This center draws on Columbia's acknowledged expertise in earth and environmental sciences, engineering, social sciences, public policy, public health, and business. Its two-fold focus is on the advancement of predictive capability for hazard and risk and the integration of core science with techniques for hazard assessment and risk management. Columbia University's physical and social scientists are motivated by a clear and compelling need to reduce the catastrophic impacts on society from natural and human-induced hazards.