Research Centers

Solutions-Focused Research that Breaks Boundaries

Wrigley Institute Research Centers merge the expertise of core faculty, staff scientists, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students to generate data and intelligence aimed at solving the world’s most pressing environmental problems.

With a focus on research that breaks traditional disciplinary boundaries, our centers both help move the field of environmental studies forward and create unique training opportunities for tomorrow’s environmental and sustainability leaders.

Students deploying equipment
A research diver puts specimens in a mesh bag as a bright orange and blue-spotted fish swims across a reef in the foreground Drone photo of the coastline of Catalina Island and San Pedro Channel with purple and yellow wildflowers in the foreground

Earth and Environmental Systems

Focused on the natural systems that combine to form our environment, the Earth and Environmental Systems center monitors and develops scientific insights about our changing planet. Projects in this center draw on the latest research in fields such as marine biology, oceanography, microbiology, geology, and terrestrial ecology, to improve our understanding of the environmental changes that may imperil our future.

Student with molecule breakdown workers on a boat guide a large metal tetrahedron, the structure of the Wrigley Institute/Marine BioEnergy kelp elevator, as it dangles from a crane above them

Applied Environmental Solutions

The Applied Environmental Solutions center serves as the Wrigley Institute’s research and development hub for solving our world’s manifold and growing environmental challenges. We turn science into action by testing the feasibility of new ideas and determining how to convert them into workable practices and technology.

a group of students stand around two small firestarters as an instructor explains wildfire management

Social Transformation

Scientific insights and menus of solutions are of little value if people can’t understand or won’t deploy them. Drawing on methods and insights from the social and behavioral sciences, arts, and humanities, the Center for Social Transformation seeks applied insights about how people think, what they believe, and how they ultimately behave.

Student mixing in lab

Faculty Innovation Awards

Our annual Faculty Innovation Awards help fund transformative, original research that tackles environmental and sustainability problems across disciplines. Awards focus on projects that fit within the framework of the Wrigley Research Centers and are open to all full-time, tenured and tenure-track USC faculty.