Signature Research Areas

Signature Research Areas (SRA) represent topics related to environmental challenges for which the perspectives and tools from multiple disciplines need to converge to work towards productive solutions.  Through SRAs, C4E supports faculty affiliates in aspects of informal and formal teaming, research project development, and relevant programming. For a research area to be considered an SRA it must be supported by at least five faculty members, spanning three or more areas of research focus, who are committed to developing the area through active participation in both signature area and other C4E events.  The SRA team commits, as a whole, to exploring research topics in the designated theme with the goal of developing research programs for funding opportunities, organizing events, and/or promoting education, scholarship, and outreach.  Each SRA is led by a Faculty Convener (FC) who shepherds the program, promoting its growth and health. The conveners also serve on the Center’s leadership committee.

Currently, the Center has four active signature research areas: BiodiversityBuilding Sustainable Communities, Chemical Exposures, and Water Challenges.

We regularly solicit the development of new areas through a competitive submission process due in early October each year.  To learn more about the process for applying, review the application here.


Research Clusters

Smaller than Signature Research Areas in terms of number of participants and size of scope,
Research Clusters represent projects and research areas that bring together several faculty from
different disciplines who, together, approach key environmental challenges.

The Center for the Environment currently supports three Research Clusters: Circular Economies, Cyber-Animal Systems, and Environmental Sensing. Descriptions for the Research Clusters can be found here.


Signature Projects & Project Leaders

In contrast to signature areas, which may have broad membership, signature projects are typically multidisciplinary grants for which multiple Purdue faculty have received external funding.  These projects relate to the mission of C4E and often have access to significant administrative support from the Center. These projects are promoted on our website and are branded as C4E signature projects.  As external funding ends, if it is not supported by other funding or is not renewed, the project is typically sunsetted as a signature project.  These projects are led by signature project leaders, a clearly identified project PI who serves on the leadership team of the Center.

Currently, the Center for the Environment supports two large signature projects, the NEXUS Arequipa Project and the Center for Global Soundscapes.

To work with the Center to develop new signature project or collaborate on current large project, contact our managing director, Lynne Dahmen.