The Environmental Research Institute (ERI) is a flagship research Institute at University College Cork, Ireland (UCC) that carries out inter-disciplinary research in the broad Environmental, Marine and Energy area.
The mission of the ERI is to generate new research knowledge for the understanding and protection of our natural environment and develop technologies, tools and services to facilitate a transformation to a low carbon and resource efficient society. The Institute’s core principles are to deliver excellent research, high quality postgraduate training and innovation with impact.
The Institute brings together over 300 environmental researchers from across science, engineering, business and humanities to address complex environmental challenges in a multi-disciplinary approach. The ERI also incorporates a number environmental research centres including Marine Renewable Energy Ireland (MaREI), Aquaculture and Fisheries Development Centre (AFDC) and the Centre for Research on Atmospheric Chemistry (CRAC).
At any one time the Institute has up to 70 research projects underway funded through both national and international agencies. This large volume of expertise and research activity provides fertile ground for high-quality, multi-disciplinary environmental research.
The range of outputs from research at the Institute include new knowledge production, development of new technologies, critically evaluating and inputting to national and international policy and law, capacity-building, training the new generation of postgraduate scientists and engineers and to engage with and inform public debate on key environmental issues.
Background / Context
The World faces unprecedented environmental challenges. The Earth system is confronted with unsustainable exploitation of its natural resources, significant and potentially irreversible changes to its climate, combined with a continued loss in biodiversity that threatens the stability of the living systems on which it depends. These challenges will be exacerbated by a world population which is expected to increase by more than 30% in the coming years. If we carry on using resources at the current rate, by 2050 we will need, on aggregate, the equivalent of more than two planets to sustain us, and the aspirations of many for a better quality of life will not be achieved (Europe 2020).
These environmental challenges require us to rapidly move towards a resource-efficient and low-carbon economy and society. Research and innovation is urgently needed to prepare ourselves for this transformation in a timely and controlled manner. The search for sustainable solutions will depend upon advances in many different areas of scientific research and most especially on researchers working across inter-disciplinary teams addressing complex environmental challenges.
As a response to these challenges the Environmental Research Institute was established in 2000 to bring together expertise in the biological, chemical and environmental sciences as well as environmental engineering and environmental law (from 11 cognate departments and four centres of excellence) to facilitate a critical collaborative approach to a subject area that requires the expertise of many different disciplines.
The ERI is focused on providing knowledge-based options to address major societal challenges and in developing and strengthening Ireland’s leadership in eco-innovation and innovation in policy and governance. The Institute fosters a broad approach to environmental research that ranges from “blue skies” research aimed at new knowledge creation, to applied research designed to generate solutions to specific environmental challenges through to contract-based work for industry and Government bodies. This breadth of research enables a seamless transmission of new knowledge from laboratory to industry/policy for the benefit of all in society. The interdisciplinary research environment at the ERI enables researchers to work together in large, multi-skilled teams that draw on each discipline’s core competences to address scientific questions of environmental relevance in a synergistic manner.
Research at the Institute is conducted under three pillars namely Environment, Marine and Energy. Each pillar has between 3 to 6 interdisciplinary thematic research areas - the thematic areas can cross-cut two or three pillars. The pillars and thematic areas reflect the inter-disciplinary nature of research at the Institute and are focused around addressing the major environmental issues facing our society and responding effectively to the opportunities presented by these challenges.
A Five Star Institute with Impact
An independent assessment of research quality at University College Cork in 2009 awarded the Institute a top research rating (Level 5) finding that “the Institute had overall excellent performance with evidence of world-class contributions” and “a high level of inter-disciplinary research within and across the groups”
An independent national review into the commercial and economic impact of research investment in Ireland in 2012 (HEA PTRLI) found that the Institute had a high impact across all evaluation criteria (commercial, human capital, capability, reputation, national policy and wider impacts).
For printable map to the ERI please click here: ERI Map
Directions By Bus
Take Number 8 bus in Bishopstown direction from Patrick Street (buses travel every 10-15 minutes). Get off at end of Western Road (across from AIB bank), cross road, walk past Sacred Heart Church and over Thomas Davis Bridge. Turn left after crossing bridge and ERI is approx. 1 km along road on left hand side (total walking time from bus stop – approx. 15 minutes).
Directions by Road
From the City Centre: travel in westerly direction along Western Road past University College Cork and turn right at the traffic lights outside AIB bank. Cross over Thomas Davis Bridge and turn left. ERI is approx. 1 km from the bridge on the left hand side of the road.
From West Cork: travel in easterly direction along Carrigrohane road, pass Kingsley hotel on left and County Hall on right. Continue towards city centre and take left turn at traffic lights outside AIB bank at the beginning of Western Road. Cross over Thomas Davis Bridge and turn left. ERI is approx. 1 km from the bridge on the left hand side of the road.
From South Ring Road – Take Wilton exit at the Sarsfield Road Roundabout, continue to Wilton Roundabout and take 2nd exit. Pass straight through Dennehys Cross and Victoria Cross towards City Centre. Take left turn at traffic lights outside AIB bank at the beginning of Western Road. Cross over Thomas Davis Bridge and turn left. ERI is approx. 1km from the bridge on the left hand side of the road.