Global to Community (G2C) Program

Students work on climate change protest art

Researchers at UVA's Environmental Institute (EI) have partnered with the College of Arts & Sciences, the School of Data Science, and the School of Engineering and Applied Science on an initiative bridging global-scale climate dynamics with regional/local processes and systems. Outcomes from this research will guide decision-making for equitable climate resilience and sustainability outcomes.

The Institute believes in moving research to action and in equitable solutions, and G2C work is integral to these efforts. Global climate change is the greatest challenge of the 21st century and it affects all aspects of society including health, commerce, and democracy. Climate impacts are being felt across the United States and the world through extreme weather, changes to coastal regions, and stress on  food, energy, and water systems, among other impacts. It is the goal of G2C to bring interdisciplinary research to these pressing problems.

This initiative’s research objectives are organized around three overarching themes:

1. utilizing downscaling and model-data fusion to make advances in climate science more actionable and equitable at the local scale;

2. leveraging cyber-physical systems (CPS) to advance the ability to monitor energy and water flows within communities, reduce energy consumption at the building scale, and mitigate global climate change impacts to infrastructure systems; and

3. exploring how engineering and nature-based approaches to decarbonization be realistically integrated at the regional scale to cut emissions in line with global climate goals.


A number of modeling and data tools are used to understand climate change, its drivers and impacts. G2C seeks to create the research capacity needed to bridge these scales by hiring postdoctoral fellows and faculty members who are interested in spanning two or more scales on this conceptual diagram and creating a data and model infrastructure to support their effort.

This initiative, funded by the Prominence-to-Preeminence (P2PE) STEM Targeted Initiatives Fund, is designed specifically to recruit and support a highly qualified and diverse group of postdoctoral fellows and, through this pipeline, to hopefully recruit and retain new diverse faculty members who will enhance UVA’s research capacity in three key areas:

1. Cross-scale modeling through AI / Machine Learning and physics-based approaches;

2. Decision science (e.g., agent-based modeling), and

3. Geospatial science (e.g., data acquisition and integration).

The postdoctoral fellows will work as a cohort and will bring the technological skills needed to bridge global-scale modeling and regional/local-scale observations to address climate change solutions.

The Institute wil support these postdoctoral fellows through interdisciplinary mentorship by faculty involved in this effort, research funds, and data infrastructure/analysis. The data and model support infrastructure and personnel will ensure that the systems support integrated climate research. This post-doctoral research program will move UVA toward preeminence and segue effectively into the recruitment of outstanding new faculty to maintain our leadership in this arena.

UVA continues to explore current understandings of climate change at spatial and temporal scales that matter to communities and in using data collected at these scales to inform regional and global assessments of climate adaptation and mitigation efforts.

The Environmental Institute works across the broad range of disciplines needed to answer crucial questions about societal futures related to climate change (e.g., environmental sciences, engineering, data science, economics, sociology, ethics, etc.). The Institute also focuses on the recruitment of postdoctoral fellows from underrepresented groups in STEM, partners in communities throughout the State of Virginia, and in other targeted communities.

G2C Leadership

karen mcglathery
EI Director; Professor
Donald Brown
Professor; Senior Associate Dean for Research
EI Associate Director; Professor
Image of Howard Epstein
Professor and Chair
Professor, Engineering Systems and Environment Associate Director, Link Lab
Henry Boachi
Program Manager