Sustainability Research

Sustainability research is prominent across faculties in Trinity and is represented in some of our major research themes and research centres.

Research themes relevant to sustainability include Smart Sustainable Planet, International Development, International Integration, Next Generation Medical Devices, Making Ireland, and Telecommunications. 

Relevant research centres, networks and projects include the following:

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Trinity Centre for the Environment

Originally established in 1979 as the Environmental Sciences Unit, the Trinity Centre for the Environment (TCE) continues to encourage and facilitate interdisciplinary research and teaching in all aspects of the environment. The TCE acts as a hub for academics, postdocs and postgraduates who work in the area of environmental science, or who wish to visit College in order to carry out research in a related area.

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Trinity Centre for Biodiversity Research

The Trinity Centre for Biodiversity Research (TCBR) was launched in December 2008 by Sir David Attenborough. Based in the School of Natural Sciences, the TCBR brings together researchers from across Trinity College Dublin to provide a broad base of expertise in a range of biodiversity research areas, enabling research to cross traditional disciplinary boundaries to encompass biological, social, economic, legal and political aspects of biodiversity.

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Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice

A centre for thought leadership, education and advocacy in the struggle to secure global justice for those people vulnerable to the impacts of climate change who are usually forgotten – the poor, the disempowered and the marginalised across the world. It is a platform for solidarity, partnership and shared engagement for all who care about global justice, whether as individuals and communities suffering injustice or as advocates for fairness in resource-rich societies. The foundation provides a space for facilitating action for climate justice to empower the poorest people and countries in their efforts to achieve sustainable and people-centred development.

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Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute – Sustainability Projects

Two research groupings within the Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute address the importance of achieving a sustainable relationship with the natural world: The Irish Environmental History Network, and the History of Marine Animal Populations project. From understanding and moderating human impact on climate, to promoting the responsible use of finite and renewable natural resources, climate change is now recognised as one of the greatest challenges facing humanity. Failure to meet this challenge is having very real consequences on the quality of life even today. Several initiatives hosted by, or affiliated with, the Trinity Long Room Hub relate to the broad concerns of sustainability, and have an important role to play in informing our attempts at achieving a sustainable relationship with the natural world.

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Future Cities

The Future Cities research theme investigates the modern metropolis, and explores how we can optimise existing infrastructures in order to improve how cities work. The Future Cities research centre undertakes multi-disciplinary research which enables, promotes and facilitates behavioural change for sustainability. The research is supported by the application of sensor, communication and analytical technological solutions to sustainability concerns in urban infrastructure such as energy, water, waste management and transportation systems.

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Sustainable Environment

The growing problem of the unsustainable footprint of the global human population requires innovative future solutions. The Sustainable Environment theme covers very broad research aspects of sustainability related to energy, water and food, waste, air and water pollution, as well as conserving and recovering ecosystem health.

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Smart and Sustainable Planet

Research in the Smart and Sustainable Planet hub designs new ways for us to interact with our environment, through the integration of technology with the natural capital provided by plants, animals, microbes, water and land. Human wellbeing is influenced by where and how we live, including material wealth, the quality of our built and natural environments, physical and mental human health, recreation, culture and education. It is estimated that 60-70% of the world’s population will live in urban environments by the year 2030 and the effects of cities extend far beyond their boundaries, as cities consume 75% of the world’s energy and emit 80% of its greenhouse gases. Therefore, solutions to smart and sustainable wellbeing require explicit consideration of how and where we live.

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Centre for Transport Research and Innovation for People

The Centre for Transport Research and Innovation for People (TRIP) is a multidisciplinary centre, funded by the HEA PRTLI programme. The centre is based at Trinity and has a link with UCC. The aim of the centre is to develop and deliver cohesive and dynamic interdisciplinary research on a range of topics including ICT in transport, solving urban congestion, quality of life, safety and the environmental impacts of transport. Generally speaking the research projects of the centre involve input from at least two disciplines and this is a fundamental principle on which the centre works. Those disciplines typically include civil engineering, mechanical engineering, electronic engineering, computer science, geography, economics, psychology and social sciences.

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Trinity International Development Initiative

The Trinity International Development Initiative (TIDI) provides an umbrella structure for coordinating and promoting international development research and education at Trinity. TIDI was established in 2007 to maximise the university’s contribution to understanding and addressing the major global development challenges of our time through research, teaching and outreach activities. It is a college-wide initiative involving all three faculties and multiple disciplines and gives visibility to, and engages with, stakeholders and policymakers. TIDI’s vision includes the provision of practical solutions to real-world challenges.

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Trinity Centre for Social Innovation

The mission of the Trinity Centre for Social Innovation is to make a positive impact on society and the environment through engagement, research, innovation and teaching. The centre contributes in a meaningful way to changing the way people and institutions in Ireland and around the world develop and deploy business skills and resources to create environmental and social impact.

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Trinity Centre for Environmental Humanities

The Trinity Centre for Environmental Humanities (TCEH) aims to raise levels of environmental consciousness, perception and action through multi-disciplinary (history, literature, media and culture studies, anthropology, sociology, and geography, to name a few) research and education. Global climate change is a complex issue requiring intelligent solutions to its social and environmental dilemmas. Drawing upon expertise from across the humanities, social and natural sciences, the Trinity Centre for Environmental Humanities provides a collaborative forum and interdisciplinary atmosphere for addressing major questions concerning how humans face pressing environmental challenges.

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