At UIC, there is significant depth in environmental research and scholarship. However, as at many universities, this expertise extends over many colleges and departments. In recognition of this, over 40 faculty and staff members from among 12 departments and three centers met for a two-day planning session in May of 1998 during which the vision and basic mission of IESP were set forth, and a formal petition seeking to form the institute was drafted. There was a strong consensus that a university-wide environmental institute was needed to promote collaboration across colleges and departments, catalyze the formation of interdisciplinary research groups on campus, and increase efforts to obtain external funding in various environmental research areas.
IESP now includes a three-person staff, nine joint faculty members, postdoctoral research associates, graduate students and predoctoral fellows, and affiliated faculty from across the university. We continue to increase our activities and broaden our efforts to address today’s critical environmental issues, with the City of Chicago providing an ideal laboratory.