Our Mission

The Rice Environmental Initiative connects researchers across the university to catalyze and support environmental efforts in three basic areas: Research, Education and Engagement.


Human activities drive rapid, unprecedented shifts in climate, biodiversity, and resources. We must evaluate how natural and built environments are changing, what role humans play in these processes, and how predictions of our future environments, societies, and economies can be improved. The Rice Environmental Initiative builds both knowledge and solutions: we address environmental challenges through research in resilient communities, and collaborate across disciplines to develop policies that help bring about meaningful, lasting change.


Whether it is through inventing new technologies, designing more sustainable cities, or building more just and equitable social models, our students need the tools to confront a rapidly-changing world. Through partnerships with local, national, and international collaborators we educate students in working with many stakeholders to develop real, workable solutions to this century’s sustainability challenges.


Practical solutions to our environmental challenges come from partnerships with our communities. One model for these partnerships comes from our place in Houston. The city’s complex mix of geographic, climatic, demographic, and economic forces makes it an ideal setting for environmental research with global relevance.