Institute at Brown for Environment and Society

Engaged Scholarship

A hallmark of scholarship at Brown and within IBES is the integration of research and teaching.

Students at India Point ParkThis scholarship takes many forms, from basic discovery that fuels future advances, to applied problem solving that meets the challenges facing our environment, but also to engaged work that involves a reciprocal, collaborative relationship between our scholars and an organization outside Brown. Each type of scholarship — basic, applied and engaged — is important and essential for IBES to meet its goals.

IBES students, staff and faculty are involved in a wide variety of engaged scholarship activities, at a local, national and international level.

Environmental Health

IBES works with the RI Department of Health to investigate how best to increase the state's adaptive capacity to deal with heat waves associated with climate change and how to reduce children's exposure to cancer-linked pollutants, which are a legacy of our state's industrial history.


IBES works with The Nature Conservancy, the US Department of Fish and Game, and other organizations that aim to conserve or restore our state, nation and world's biological heritage.

Environmental Governance

IBES works with United Nations delegations from many individual countries to develop a framework that can equitably fund adaptation approaches needed in response to climate change.

Students at Brown have the opportunity to become essential contributors to engaged scholarship through IBES courses, research and internship opportunities, and obtaining an Engaged Scholarship Certificate (ESC) through the Swearer Center.

Students can enroll in courses that have an engaged scholarship goal. These courses include:

ENVS 0110 Humans, Nature and the Environment Emphasizes small-group projects in partnership with local organizations
ENVS 1555 Urban Agriculture: The Importance of Localized Food Systems Involves planning and developing local urban agriculture projects
ENVS 1574 Climate Policy Research: Organizations and Obstruction Students travel to D.C. for five days in October to attend meetings with experts and staff from government agencies, industry organizations, think tanks, journalists and environmental NGOs, and to hold briefings on our joint research.

Learn more about the work made possible under the umbrella of IBES's Climate and Development Lab

Students interested in participating in Brown's formal certificate program in Engaged Scholarship should visit the Swearer Center website.