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Departments & Programs



E-IPER PhD student Andy Gerhart studies the social and ecological effects of increased salmon farming in southern Chile. Courtesy of Andy Gerhart.

E-IPER students' research addresses issues such as the science and policy of global climate change, local and regional food security, the valuation of ecosystem services, clean energy development and energy efficiency, agricultural intensification and variability, land use change and biodiversity loss, and threats to marine resources.

In addition to research, E-IPER students and alumni are involved in a variety of workshops, conferences, policymaking proceedings, public education events, entrepreneurial ventures, and other activities to influence sustainability locally and globally.

Through these efforts, they seek new knowledge, discoveries, and tools to address some of society's most intractable environmental and resource challenges. Read more about these activities below and in E-IPER's featured news stories, and see videos of past E-IPER PhD student dissertation defenses to get an idea of E-IPER students' work.

While E-IPER students work on wide range of topics, fields, and methods, the four broad topics below include many of the key issues E-IPER students and faculty are addressing through research, policy initiatives, new business ideas, and the myriad of other activities they are engaged in at Stanford and around the globe.

Energy and Climate Change

Securing cleaner, more reliable energy sources and reducing greenhouse gases to mitigate climate change are top national priorities, yet many questions still need to be answered before the "clean energy economy" succeeds.

Land Use and Conservation

Human influence on natural landscapes has resulted in the loss of biodiversity, the breakdown of essential ecosystem services, and threats to the world's more beautiful and sacred places. Can human needs be met without causing such extensive damage to terrestrial ecosystems?

Oceans and Estuaries

We know less about marine ecosystems than we do about those on land, but the threats to ocean habitats and resources are increasingly apparent and urgent. Depletion of fisheries, acidification caused by climate change, dead zones caused by nutrients from agricultural run-off.

Freshwater and Sanitation

For many people in the world, reliable access to clean water for cooking, washing, and cleaning cannot be taken for granted. As cities grow, agriculture expands, and climate changes, freshwater is becoming an increasingly threatened resource, resulting in widespread human conflict, suffering, and sickness.