As one of the leading public research universities in the world, UCLA is consistently ranked nationally in the top five institutions for research funding with over $1 billion dollars in funding awarded each year the past three years.

UCLA’s great strength lies in its ability to address significant interdisciplinary research challenges. Research at UCLA has a long tradition of interdisciplinary collaborations including those in the areas of climate change and sustainability. Projects that cross academic boundaries flourish at UCLA, where faculty from a full spectrum of academic departments and professional schools work together on a single university campus. UCLA is committed to facilitating research in the science of climate change and sustainability, technologies to combat climate change and sustainability problems, and in policies that support emerging science and technology.

UCLA currently has over 166 faculty engaged in climate and sustainability‐related research across 36 departments.

In addition to the information below, the Office of Intellectual Property & Industry Sponsored Research has developed an inventory of research at UCLA related to energy, clean technology, and sustainability, as well as technology and companies that have resulted from this research.

Office of Intellectual Property & Industry Sponsored Research

Faculty interest and participation in sustainability research has continued to grow and we might have missed you! If you are involved in research at UCLA that is connected to sustainability and do not see your center listed below, please let us know so we can update the list. You can contact us at sustainability@ucla.edu.

Click here for a list of faculty and their respective departments involved in Sustainability research.

Research Centers and Groups

In addition to an abundance of world‐class disciplinary‐based departmental research, UCLA has a wide range of centers dedicated to research in the areas of climate change and sustainability. These centers, encompassing a broad array of academic disciplines, research interests, policy concerns and outreach avenues, are spread throughout campus in units including the Institute of the Environment, Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Geography, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Law, Management, Public Policy, and many others.

Natural and Physical Sciences

Air Quality and Aerosol Technology Laboratory: This laboratory facilitates the study of the dynamics of aerosol flow reactors. It is well equipped for the study of particle/gas systems with applications to pollution control and commercial production of fine particles. Instrumentation available includes optical particle counters, electrical aerosol analyzers, and condensation nuclei counters. Host Unit : Department of Chemical Engineering

Center for Earth Systems Research (CESR): CESR conducts research in the physics and biogeochemistry of the Earth’s atmosphere, cryosphere, and oceans. In addition, CESR is a base for a broad, cooperative effort to develop, test, and apply comprehensive numerical modeling capabilities for the Earth’s climate‐for periods extending over previous millennia, the present, and the coming centuries of anthropogenically induced changes.  Host Unit: Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences

Center for Tropical Research (CTR): The unifying goal of the senior scientists, postdoctoral researchers, and graduate students at the CTR is to understand the biotic processes that underlie and maintain the diversity of life in the tropics and to advance conservation efforts that protect endangered species and habitats. Core research investigates the impacts of human activities, including climate change, on biodiversity and conservation efforts.  Host Unit: Institute of the Environment

Coastal Center: The Coastal Center addresses problems related to the coastal ocean and land margin bordering Southern California, including wetlands and watersheds.  Host Unit: Institute of the Environment

Environmental Engineering Analytical Chemistry Laboratory (EEACL): EEACL has been established to provide for identification and quantification of organic and inorganic compounds at trace levels in environmental, biochemical and geochemical samples from atmospheric, aquatic and solid media.  Host Unit: Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Joint Institute for Regional Earth System Science and Engineering (JIFRESSE): JIFRESSE is a scientific collaboration between UCLA and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to improve understanding of global climate change and to develop future projections about its effect on regional climates and environments. The Institute serves as a center for multi‐disciplinary research focused on the Southern California region including studies of the atmosphere; coastal ocean and land surface; and the physical, chemical and biological interactions among them.

UCLA Stunt Ranch Reserve: The reserve is a preserved natural chaparral habitat (naturally burned in 1995) used for research and education. While researchers track the re‐growth of vegetation on the charred slopes, facilities reconstruction and University‐community outreach are top priorities of the reserve’s project and faculty managers.  Host Unit: UC Natural Reserve System (UCLA administration)

 

Technology

Center for Energy Science and Technology Advanced Research (CESTAR): CESTAR is an interdepartmental research center whose mission is to provide a common focal point for collaboration and synergism among researchers at UCLA involved in energy related research. Currently CESTAR is organized around four specific energy thrust areas: Fusion Energy, Hydrogen, Materials for Energy Applications, Energy Conversion, and Energy Conservation.  Host Unit: School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Center for Embedded Networked Sensing (CENS): CENS is a major research enterprise focused on developing wireless sensing systems and applying this revolutionary technology to critical scientific and societal pursuits including: development of new measurement tools to identify the sources and fates of chemical and biological pollutants in natural, urban, and agricultural waters as well as using cell phones for applications in areas of public health, environmental protection, urban planning, and cultural expression. One tool CENS has developed, PEIR or Personal Environmental Impact Report, helps people measure their individual environmental footprint and exposure to pollutants.  Host Unit: Computer Science Department

Energy Design Tools – Home Energy Efficient Design (HEED): Researchers in the Department of Architecture and Urban Design have developed a suite of free easy-to-use energy design software programs including HEED which shows home owners, builders, and architects how much energy and money they can save by making various design or remodeling changes. Users can easily draw in the floorplan of their house and can select from lists of standard wall and roof construction and different types of windows. The latest version adds new features including allowing changes to electric and gas utility rates plus rates for oil and propane, offering various kinds of operable window shading, allowing thermal mass to be added or removed, and the home’s calculates carbon footprint. Climate data is available for over one thousand locations around the world. This climate data can be graphically analyzed using another tool called Climate Consultant.  Host Unit: Department of Architecture and Urban Design

Water Technology Research (WaTeR) Center: The mission of the WaTeR Center is to advance technologies of water production in order to develop new and economical alternative sources of potable, irrigation, and consumptive water uses.  Host Unit: School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

 

Policy and Law

Center for Climate Change Solutions: The Center for Climate Change Solutions operates at the intersection of science and policy by engaging researchers and decision?makers in the development and communication of effective solutions to the consequences of climate change.  Host Unit: Institute of the Environment

Emmett Center on Climate Change and the Environment: The Emmett Center is the nation’s first law school center focused exclusively on climate change. Its mission is studying and advancing law and policy solutions to the climate change crisis and training the next generation of leaders in creating these solutions. It focuses on issues relating to both mitigation (reducing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere) and adaptation (coping with whatever climate change is inevitable despite our best mitigation efforts), working across disciplines to promote research and tools useful to decision?makers locally, statewide, nationally and beyond.  Host Unit: School of Law

California Center for Population Research (CCPR): CCPR is a cooperative of UCLA faculty who carry out basic and applied research and training in demography. CCPR comprises over 60 active faculty researchers from the disciplines of anthropology, economics, epidemiology, geography, human resources & organizational behavior, law, medicine (pediatrics and psychiatry), population, psychology, community health services, public policy, social welfare, sociology, and urban planning.  Host Unit: School of Public Affairs

Center for Corporate Environmental Performance: The Center for Corporate Environmental Performance coordinates research and teaching on the environmental impact of corporations and market responses to green strategies. The center partners with corporations to improve their environmental performance while remaining competitive.  Host Unit: Institute of the Environment

Institute of Transportation Studies: Each year dozens of ITS faculty, students, and research staff collaborate on a wide array of transportation policy and planning studies, ranging from an analysis of the travel trends and transportation needs of immigrants and low-income workers, to the testing and evaluation of innovative fare programs to increase public transit use.  Host Unit: School of Public Affairs

Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies: This center promotes the study, understanding and solution of regional policy issues, with special reference to Southern California, including problems of the environment, urban design, housing, community and neighborhood dynamics, transportation and economic development.  Host Unit: School of Public Affairs

Sustainable Technology & Policy Program (STPP): STPP is a joint undertaking of the Schools of Law and Public Health, focused on identifying and promoting the use of safer alternatives to hazardous chemicals found in consumer products and used in industrial and agricultural production.

 

Human Health and Environmental Justice

Center for Healthier Children, Families & Communities: The Center has created a unique partnership of University faculty, students, and researchers; service providers; community organizations; local residents; businesses; and government agencies to: develop innovative and responsive health and social services programs, transform communities into healthier environments for children, and educate the next generation of leaders for careers in community service.  Host Unit: David Geffen School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, and School of Public Health

Center for the Study of Urban Poverty (CSUP): CSUP’s primary mission is to encourage and facilitate academic research into the causes and consequences of urban poverty and the effectiveness of policies aimed at alleviating poverty.  Host Unit: Public Affairs

Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (COEH): COEH-affiliated centers and programs seek to expand our knowledge base, provide exceptional training of students to address toxic chemical exposure, global warming, population growth, habitat destruction, and social/psychosocial factors, and to interact with Southern California communities as an interface between the University and the public.  Host Unit: Environmental Health Science

Center for Sustainable Urban Systems: The research focus of the Center for Sustainable Urban Systems is integrated social-biophysical research on human environmental interactions and their impacts and feedback loops, social justice and urban environmental sustainability through revitalizing and re-naturalizing the urban environment and research and analysis of systems of governance and government for democratic accountability and greater sustainability.  Host Unit: Institute of the Environment

 

Expanding Research: New Initiatives

As part of UCLA’s Strategic Research goals, UCLA is committed to continuing its current efforts to expand research in climate change and sustainability-related fields.

Clean Tech LA: UCLA is leading a consortium of partners that include University of Southern California, California Institute of Technology, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, and the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, in the creation of an organization dedicated to promoting the development of the clean technology sector in Los Angeles. This consortium has formed a non-profit organization with the mission of promoting Los Angeles clean tech companies to a global audience. This consortium also expects to compete for hosting the administrative hub of the California Climate Change Institute (CCCI), whose mission, as outlined in recent Senate legislation, will be to provide grant funding for mission-oriented, applied research that results in practical technological solutions and policy recommendations likely to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or otherwise mitigate the impacts of climate change in California.

University of California Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (UC CEIN): UCLA and 12 collaborating institutions have recently been awarded $24 million in federal funding to establish the UC CEIN, which will help researchers design safer and more environmentally benign nanomaterials. This center will be housed at the UCLA California NanoSystems Institute and will explore the impact of nanomaterials on life forms and the interactions of these materials with various biological systems and ecosystems.

Nano Renewable Energy Center (NREC): The NREC will focus on the research and development of the latest renewable energy technologies. The primary goal of the NREC is to utilize nano technology in the renewable energy research, and to achieve quantum leap progress. The research at NREC will be focusing on these three important categories: (1) Energy Harvesting; (2) Energy Storage; and (3) Energy Management. Initial research activity at the NREC is on high performance and low-cost flexible solar cells based on conjugated polymers; inorganic nano particles; and organic-inorganic hybrid material system. Other research areas, such as energy storage, will emerge as research activities are expanded in the future.