History & Mission

Founded in 1994, Princeton Environmental Institute advances understanding of the Earth as a complex system, influenced by human activities, and informs solutions to local and global challenges by conducting groundbreaking research across disciplines and by preparing future leaders in diverse fields to impact a world increasingly shaped by climate change.

PEI functions as a vibrant central resource for faculty, postdocs, students, alumni, and others with an interest in environmental topics and research. More than 120 members of the Princeton faculty, representing 30 academic disciplines, are active with PEI and contribute to the teaching of scientific, technical, policy, and human dimensions of environmental issues.

PEI serves as a center for environmental education, ideas, and dialogue through robust undergraduate and graduate teaching and certificate programs, research centers and initiatives, and public events addressing a range of environmental topics.

Michael Celia speaking with a student outside
PEI fosters research collaborations involving faculty and students. PEI Director, Michael Celia (right), the Theodora Shelton Pitney Professor of Environmental Studies and professor of civil and environmental engineering, talks with graduate student Ryan Edwards, who received his Ph.D. from Princeton in 2018. (Photo by Isometric Studio)


Get Involved


PEI is the administrative home for sponsored research projects funded by government, industry and foundation enterprises and includes several long-term centers such as the Carbon Mitigation Initiative (CMI) and the Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modeling (SOCCOM) project.

Through the Grand Challenges program, PEI encourages innovations in interdisciplinary faculty research and teaching to address urgent and complex environmental issues including climate and energy, urban resilience and sustainability, and water and the environment.




Through the Program in Environmental Studies (ENV), PEI offers a broad selection of undergraduate courses that explore environmental issues through the lens of the natural sciences, engineering, humanities, and social science disciplines. Students wishing to demonstrate proficiency may pursue a Certificate in Environmental Studies.

PEI makes available a wide range of environmentally-focused internships in the summer months. These paid fellowships are mentored by Princeton faculty and other qualified hosts and provide participating students exposure to cutting-edge research on environmental challenges in climate science, biodiversity, environmental policy, energy technology, water resource management and sustainable development.

Additionally, PEI provides support for field research connected to independent work in the junior and senior years. The ENV program and related opportunities are open to all students regardless of academic major.

Undergraduate students talking in a circle
Princeton undergraduates in any major can take part in PEI’s courses, summer internships and certificate program, and apply for research support. Undergraduates and PEI summer interns (left to right) Walker Darling ’18 (Geosciences), Noshin Khan ’19 (Architecture), Maria Stahl ’20 (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology) and Erin Redding ’19 (Woodrow Wilson School). (Photo by Isometric Studio)


PEI provides support for graduate research and hosts fellowship programs that encourage Ph.D. candidates to broaden their perspective on environmental problems. These opportunities include the PEI-STEP Fellowship Program for students who wish to explore the public policy dimension of their graduate research; and the Princeton Energy and Climate Scholars Program (PECS). Funding for graduate research is made available annually by competitive application including support from PEI’s Walbridge and Hack Research Awards. A Graduate Certificate in Environmental Studies was recently introduced



PEI hosts seminars, lectures and conferences throughout the academic year on a broad range of environmental topics. Most events are open to the public and draw an audience that includes members of the University and Princeton-area communities along with visitors and professional colleagues from peer institutions and collaborating partners in academic, industry, government and the non-profit sectors. Upcoming events are listed on the PEI calendar and distributed through our email list (see the bottom of the page to subscribe). Videos of many of our past events are available online.


PEI presents the following regular lecture series, both of which are open to the public.

The PEI Faculty Seminar Series is a venue for senior faculty to discuss their research in the context of environmental science and current events. Each semester features four faculty seminars on topics that include: sea-level rise; climate change; carbon sequestration; green technology; renewable energy and sustainability; biodiversity; infectious diseases and global health; urban infrastructure; environmental history and humanities; environmental chemistry; and ocean biogeochemistry.

The PEI Taplin Environmental Lecture Series was established in 1997 by Frank Taplin, a 1937 Princeton graduate and philanthropist for environmental causes and the arts, to bring accomplished scholars and environmental leaders from industry, government, NGOs and the private sector to Princeton University. Speakers engage the public on numerous pressing environmental issues and topics, including: the environmental humanities; climate science and policy; economics and sustainability; environmental ethics; federal land-use policy; and the role of science, technology, and industry in environmental mitigation.


PEI sponsors seminars, colloquia, lecture series, and speaker events related to environmental topics such as: the environmental humanities; religion and ecology; climate science and policy; energy; infectious disease and global health; sustainable development; water scarcity; and environmental justice. Sponsored series currently include the China and Environment Series, the Environmental Humanities and Social Transformation Colloquium, and the GEO/AOS/PEI Climate Seminar Series, among others. Contact Katharine Hackett, Executive Director of PEI, to inquire about PEI sponsorship.


Employment Opportunities

For all open positions within PEI, check our Employment Opportunities page.



You may contact us by using the form in our Contact Us page.