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Institute, Vision, Mission, and Outreach

Our Institute

StonesThe Earth and Environmental Systems Institute (EESI) is one of the nation’s leading institutes in earth and environmental sciences research. Its diverse and world-renowned faculty members are engaged in interdisciplinary, innovative, and collaborative research on some of the most compelling problems and issues of our time. EESI is part of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (EMS) and the Institutes of Energy and the Environment (IEE).

About Us

EESI is the portal to environmental research, education, and outreach programs offered by EMS and is one of the leading earth and environmental sciences research institutes in the U.S. EESI is affiliated with IEE, the central coordinating structure for energy and environmental research, education, and outreach at Penn State.

EESI faculty and researchers are primarily associated with the departments of Geosciences, Meteorology, and Geography, all of which have top-ranked graduate programs. Penn State's Geography graduate program is ranked No. 1, according to the National Research Council (1995), while the University's Earth Sciences program is 5th in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report (2019). Within Earth Sciences, the University ranks 1st in geology, 3rd in environmental sciences, and 4th in geochemistry. Meteorology has one of the best-known atmospheric science programs in the U.S., but this field is not officially ranked by any organization.


EESI will build an extraordinary community of people who cross boundaries to understand the earth system, how it affects people, and how people affect it.


EESI's mission is comprised of four interrelated elements:

  1. To encourage interdisciplinary examination of the links between Earth’s chemical, physical, and biological processes from atomic to global scales by supporting faculty and student research on earth sciences and environmental issues;
  2. To facilitate the modeling and manipulation of data in new and innovative ways through EESI’s Environmental Computing Facility;
  3. To facilitate dissemination of research findings through publications, presentations, web pages, workshops, seminars, testimony to public agencies, and advice to public and private organizations and agencies; and
  4. To develop innovative, interdisciplinary research and education programs that benefit internal and external stakeholders, including the Penn State community, the Commonwealth, scientific communities, and federal and state science agencies and organizations.


EESI's faculty work actively to communicate research findings to both academic and practitioner audiences. This is accomplished via publications, presentations, and web sites that are often designed and executed after consultation with the Institute’s outreach support groups and with the Center for Environmental Informatics.

Staff members can assist faculty and students in developing new and innovative approaches to the creation and dissemination of environmental information resources and facilitate their delivery to individuals, communities, and organizations within the Commonwealth, the nation, and the world. They can also provide graphic and cartographic design, WWW design, GIS, remote sensing, and data resources services.

Future outreach and dissemination activities include publication of working paper and research report series, and press releases and special features on research currently being conducted at the Institute.