Our Themes


We’re supporting the science and technology research initiatives needed to bring renewable energy to the mainstream. With a focus on biofuels, solar energy, wind energy, economics, energy efficiency and more, we provide experts at the University of Minnesota and beyond with resources they need to seek and find environmentally sound solutions to today’s energy challenges.


We’re tackling land use and food security issues from local to global scales. IonE researchers apply unique expertise in understanding and forecasting changes in Earth’s systems to balancing agricultural production and environmental protection. We’re also advancing new approaches to assessing the value of ecosystem goods and services to ensure long-term sustainability of landscapes while meeting basic human needs.


We’re dedicated to understanding and managing freshwater resources in a changing world. Our work considers the links among human activities, waterways and other components of Earth’s ecosystems. We’re transforming how the world’s great lakes are viewed and managed. We’re also using the Mississippi River as a base for exploring and enhancing the social, environmental, political, educational and related dimensions of river sustainability.


We’re advancing understanding of the complex relationships between population and the environment through innovative partnerships that link global population data, environmental information and new techniques for managing global data sets. In addition, IonE-supported sustainable development initiatives range from testing approaches to bringing healthier cookstoves to developing countries to finding village-based solutions to health, natural resources and food security challenges in Africa.


We’re redefining how knowledge is created and used to solve global sustainability challenges. Our collaborative, stakeholder-driven research is helping industries, governments and individuals move beyond “window dressing” greening efforts to more meaningful, systemic change by combining the market’s power to innovate with academia’s capacity to conduct rigorous, solution-oriented research.