Focus Areas

One of TIE’s main goals is to support faculty collaboration for interdisciplinary environmental research. We focus on four core areas: water, energy and climate, health and the environment, and education. Below are the most significant research initiatives TIE has spearheaded or supported in those areas.

For a list of the faculty affiliated with TIE involved in this research, please see our Affiliated Faculty Page.


WSSS: TIE is the primary supporter of the interdisciplinary graduate research and education program at Tufts known as Water: Systems, Science, and Society (WSSS). The program is open to graduate students at any of Tufts’ schools. Students take courses related to the different core areas of the program, create interdisciplinary research projects or participate in a group practicum, and help plan and annual symposium on water issues.

Water Diplomacy IGERT: A generous grant from the National Science Foundation has allowed Tufts to create a new doctoral program that aims to address the complexities of managing water as a resource in times of increasing scarcity. The program focuses on diplomacy and negotiation as a means of resolving water-related conflict. The program will enroll 25 doctoral students over five years and will, like WSSS, combine classroom instruction with field work and research.

Water Collaborations:  TIE maintains partnership with external organizations devoted to interdisciplinary water issues, notably the U.S. Water Partnership and the Mystic River Watershed Association.

Climate & Energy

On our research initiatives on climate and energy, TIE is proud to partner with the Center for International Environment and Research Policy (CIERP) at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

CLIMB: Tufts faculty collaborated with researchers from Boston University and the University of Maryland on a research study called Climate’s Long-Term Impact on Metro Boston (CLIMB). The study, which ran from 1999 to 2004, examined the potential impacts of climate change on infrastructure systems in metro Boston and to recommend strategies to prevent, reduce, or manage the risk. Among its many other findings, the CLIMB report estimated that sea levels along the Boston area’s coast could rise 24 inches in the 21st century. Read the full CLIMB report with all of its findings here (PDF).

Solar Decathlon: TIE helped fund Tufts’ entry in the 2009 Solar Decathlon, a biennial competition in which 20 teams of university students strive to design and build a solar-powered house. Tufts collaborated with the Boston Architectural College to build the Curio House, which has its own dedicated website here.

CCCJ: Climate Change, Climate Justice (CCCJ) at Tufts is an ad hoc committee that aims to connect environmental and social justice movements and initiatives inside and outside of Tufts. One of CCCJ’s main priorities currently is preparing for the 2012 Conference of the National Peace and Justice Studies Association, which will be focused on climate change and social justice and will be held at Tufts University in October 2012. The committee’s other initiatives include the creation of a summer scholarship program for climate justice-related student projects and the development of interdisciplinary courses at Tufts.

Tufts Energy Conference: TIE is a co-sponsor and, as of 2012, an advising body for the Tufts Energy Conference, an annual symposium that brings together people across sectors to exchange ideas about how to solve society’s most pressing energy-related challenges. One component of TEC is the Tufts Energy Competition, in which students can receive funding for innovative proposals for energy projects. TEC 2013 was held March 2nd-3rd.

Health & the Environment

One Health: As part of a continuing effort to promote innovative, interdisciplinary methods of teaching health at Tufts, TIE Co-Directors Gretchen Kaufman and Elena Naumova developed a seminar entitled “One Health: Interdisciplinary Approaches to People, Animals, and the Environment.” The course brings together faculty from three different Tufts campuses to teach students about the complex and integrated nature of the problems associated with human, animal, and ecosystem health. The course was most recently taught in Spring 2011, and the materials from its Fall 2009 iteration are posted on Tufts OpenCourseWare.

Arctic Initiative: TIE collaborated with the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and the Initiative for the Forecasting and Modeling of Infectious Disease (InForMid) to host a two-day workshop in April 2010 on issues of climate change and public health in the Arctic. The workshop featured speakers on a range of topics, and discussions focused on solutions in medicine, policy, community empowerment, and economic development. After the success of the workshop, TIE plans to develop future opportunities with the intent of facilitating discussion and research on health and development in the Arctic region.

MCM Program: The Master of Science in Conservation Medicine (MCM) demonstrates Tufts’ commitment to the One Health approach in health education. MCM is a twelve-month program designed to build upon individual students’ disciplinary strengths, provide foundational knowledge in emerging conservation medicine issues, and foster cross-sectoral collaboration. Graduates of the program are uniquely prepared to enter a broad variety of health and policy careers, and are equipped with an integrated understanding of human and environmental health distinct from more narrowly-focused traditional programs.

Doctor of Public Health Program: Tufts has recently added depth to its public health education programs with a new Doctorate in Public Health (DrPH) degree offered through Tufts University School of Medicine. The new degree’s interdisciplinary curriculum draws from across the University’s distinguished graduate schools in medicine, nutrition, veterinary sciences, dentistry, engineering and international relations.  Students will learn from nationally and internationally renowned faculty who bring with their public health training a wide range of expertise in law, medicine, veterinary medicine, sociology, anthropology, environmental science and engineering, nutrition, infectious diseases, communications, social work, and global health. Tufts will enroll its inaugural DrPH class in the fall of 2013.


TIE’s commitment to environmental education is apparent from the numerous educational programs at Tufts we support. For detailed information about our involvement in educational initiatives, please visit our Education page.