Institute at Brown for Environment and Society

Goal 2: Driving Solutions-Inspired Research

Driving Solutions-Inspired Research

Become a global leader and catalyst for interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research and training that advance solutions to the 21st century’s biggest challenges.

The most pressing environmental and societal challenges of the 21st century lie at the nexus of multiple disciplines within academia, and between traditional scholars and actors beyond the academy. Finding solutions to these problems requires IBES to innovate in the types of research that we do, the way we define its impact, and the partnerships that we cultivate in its design and execution. Since its inception, IBES has built a strong culture of cross-disciplinary research. We will build on that foundation to partner with communities, stakeholders and sectors historically excluded from academic research to expand the breadth of perspectives, tools, networks and approaches that we leverage in our research.



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  1. Establish a high-profile speaker series to raise the institute’s national and international profile.
  2. Convene thematic workshops and other events that accelerate knowledge transfer and action on climate, sustainability and environmental solutions.
  3. Support the creation and dissemination of a diverse set of IBES research products.



  1. Redesign the IBES seed grant program to foster the growth of transdisciplinary research.

  2. Provide sustained, tangible support for transdisciplinary research networks to build research capacity toward proposal readiness.

  3. Grow the IBES affiliate faculty community and support their engagement in transdisciplinary research networks.

  4. Expand the research workforce in IBES to support accelerated growth in interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research.

    1. Design and implement a strategic hiring plan for five to seven tenure-track faculty and three to five research faculty.

    2. Hire research staff to support large collaborative proposal development and pre- and post-award administration.

    3. Double the size of the IBES postdoctoral fellowship program.

    4. Create five to seven fully funded IBES graduate fellowships.


  1. Conduct an inventory of external partners playing active roles in IBES research.
  2. Establish and maintain robust communication channels between IBES and other major climate and sustainability partners in higher education across Rhode Island and neighboring states.


  1. Develop criteria and metrics that will guide the selection, resourcing and evaluation of IBES research centers.
  2. Leverage IBES seed grants, graduate fellowships, postdoctoral fellowships and undergraduate research funding to support the development of new and existing transdisciplinary research centers.
  1. Increase opportunities for a diverse set of Brown undergraduates to participate in IBES research.
  2. Develop equitable policies, practices and resourcing models to increase the participation of organizational partners and individuals from historically underrepresented groups in the design and execution of IBES research.
  3. Create opportunities for IBES researchers to engage in K-12 and/or workforce development activities based in historically underserved communities.
  1. Increase engagement at the federal level to develop a proactive approach to federal fundraising.
  2. Increase IBES faculty access to foundation and philanthropic funding.
  3. Work with the IBES Advisory Council to engage the Brown alumni network in IBES fundraising efforts.