The Environmental Science and Design Research Institute (ESDRI) is dedicated to research and investigations within natural, human, and built systems, as we develop innovative knowledge, products, and solutions to address local, regional, and global issues.

Students: The institute aims to build research skills in students, in order to cultivate well-rounded, critical thinking professionals.  ESDRI recognizes the professional and personal importance of students having foundational research skills and knowledge, which is facilitated through a variety of workshops, speakers, service projects, symposia, special events, Q&A sessions, laboratory tours, and more.  The institute supports undergraduates – academically and financially – through its Fellows Program, in hopes of mentoring a new generation of scholars. 

Faculty: ESDRI provides many opportunities for faculty to advance their research and facilitates multidisciplinary collaborations, procuring extramural funding, and working with qualified student researchers.  The institute engages a broad range of talented scientists, designers, and practitioners, spanning many academic disciplines, fields, and programs.  The institute proudly hosts an annual symposium, with an ever-evolving theme, which draws from KSU faculty, students, and many of our community partners.
Environmental Science and Design Research Institute logo

Colleges represented within ESDRI include:
  • Aeronautics and Engineering
  • Architecture and Environmental Design
  • The Arts
  • Arts and Sciences
  • Communication and Information
  • Education, Health and Human Services
  • Nursing
  • Public Health

By empowering environmental research, the institute aims to foster change by drawing from robust, well-informed science and design or extrapolating on the research ourselves.  ESDRI encourages students, faculty, and the greater community to understand and leverage the interacting geological, biological, human, economical, cultural, and social systems around us.  These overlapping systems impact and regulate the availability of resources (e.g. pure water, clean air, and food), sustain diversity of life on Earth, promote well-being, and affect all of us in our daily life. 

Environmental Science and Design Research Institute acknowledges that Kent State University, including the institute, is located on lands previously inhabited by people of the Delaware, Erie, Kaskaskia, Miami, Ottawa, Seneca-Cayuga, Shawnee, and Wyandot tribes. We pay respect to their past, present, and future.

Recent News
Kent State Uses Geospatial Technology to Map Violence
Friday, June 17, 2022
Principal Investigator Cameron C. Lee, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Geography (within the College of Arts and Sciences) at Kent State University, was recently awarded a three-year, $387,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Program Office and its Modeling, Analysis, Predictions and Projections Program (MAPP). The project is titled “Excess Heat and Excess Cold Factors: Establishing a unified duration-intensity metric for monitoring hazardous temperature conditions in North America”.
Metin Eren from Kent State University's Department of Anthropology
Friday, June 10, 2022
They have gone above and beyond to keep Kent State University moving forward during the pandemic, and now they are being honored for their dedication and hard work. Kent State President Todd Diacon recently notified nine faculty members and 14 staff members that they have received special awards for their work and service.
Global Change main image
Wednesday, May 11, 2022
Climate change is a complex problem with no easy answers—and everything at stake.
2022 Biodesign Challenge Group Members
Friday, April 29, 2022
Two significant environmental issues our nation faces today include invasive plant species and a lack of sustainable materials. Invasive plant species are detrimental to host environments for multiple reasons. Kent State students are working to turn invasive plant species into a sustainable material that can help protect the environment through the 2022 Biodesign Challenge, a course and national competition to create sustainable solutions to real world problems.
Grind2Energy System
Thursday, April 28, 2022
The central component of the Grind2Energy systems at Kent State University are larger versions of the in-sink garbage disposals found in many homes. The difference is that at Kent State, these units aren’t disposing of food waste, but processing it with a purpose - as the first part of a highly sustainable innovation that creates energy and high-grade fertilizer.
Geography Students at Kent State
Tuesday, February 01, 2022
Scott Sheridan, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Geography, in the College of Arts and Sciences at Kent State University, was recently selected to become an inaugural American Geophysical Union (AGU) LANDInG (Leadership Academy and Network for Diversity and Inclusion in the Geosciences) Academy Fellow.
Grass after first frost
Monday, January 17, 2022
Many wonder if climate change is the reason we’ve had 'weather whiplash' or day-to-day dramatic changes from hot to cold or cold to hot. As a climate scientist, Cameron Lee, assistant professor in the Department of Geography in the College of Arts and Sciences at Kent State, gets asked this question a lot. Looking beyond just the average temperatures and statistical means, he decided to take a more analytical look at weather whiplash and add to a growing body of climate change literature examining temperature variability trends.
An aspen woodland/sagebrush shrubland ecotone. Photo by Tim Assal
Monday, November 22, 2021
Timothy Assal, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Geography, was awarded a grant as a co-principal investigator on a multi-institutional project, “Vulnerability of lower-ecotone aspen forests to altered fire regimes and climate dynamics in the northern Great Basin” (a three-year $299,842 total award with $89,600 going to Kent State), which is funded by the Northwest Climate Adaption Science Center. This collaboration includes the United States Geological Survey in Boise, Idaho, Utah State University, and the United States Bureau of Land Management.
The image on the left features a computer scientist coding with code in the background and the image on the right is of a scientist researching with a vaccine in the background.
Friday, September 10, 2021
Kent State's Jonathan Maletic, Ph.D., in the Department of Computer Science and Tara Smith, Ph.D., in the College of Public Health are the winners of the 2021 Faculty Outstanding Research and Scholarship Awards (ORSAs). The ORSAs recognize the hard work and dedication of faculty members who have been with Kent State for more than 10 years. Read more about the winners and how they display the highest levels of scholarship.