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Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs

Disproportionate Impacts of Environmental Challenges

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Guided by the principles of humility, responsibility, respect and rigor, the Disproportionate Impacts of Environmental Challenges Working Group supports community-driven research initiatives. We are a multi-disciplinary group of researchers united by an interest in understanding and addressing the disproportionate impacts of climate change and environmental degradation experienced by different communities.  Our expertise spans from the humanities and social sciences to engineering, conservation biology, ecology, and Earth sciences. As the inaugural winners of the Idea Incubation competition, our work is supported by the Buffett Institute for Global Affairs at Northwestern University.

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Our central aim is societal impact—not simply bridging divides within academia, but reaching outside of the academy to co-produce and apply knowledge. Our work is guided by two core questions:

  • How can marginalized communities effectively mitigate and adapt to climate change impacts?
  • How can we produce research that is meaningful, relevant, actionable, and rigorous?

To generate impactful knowledge and innovations, we have developed a model for transdisciplinary research that centers community-driven research questions as the foundation of any research initiative. This approach recognizes that for research to be useful and usable, it must emerge from community priorities, engage community knowledge, and be co-produced with community members.

We welcome inquiries from communities interested in co-developing research that could help strengthen socio-ecological resilience through scientific, technological, and governance innovations.