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Community stakeholders meet to discuss the potential impacts of climate change.
December 23, 2018

Barr Foundation awards UMass Boston’s sustainable solutions lab $1M


  • Boston
Money to support research, convenings, and pilot projects to tackle challenges of climate change and social equity

The Barr Foundation announced on Tuesday that it was awarding $1 million to the UMass Foundation to support the Sustainable Solutions Lab's climate resilience work. The money will support research, convenings, and pilot projects to tackle challenges at the intersection of climate change and social equity.

“As an interdisciplinary center, SSL draws on expertise from throughout the university to promote healthier, more resilient, and equitable communities in an era of climate change,” Sustainable Solutions Lab Director Rebecca Herst said. “This investment from the Barr Foundation will empower SSL to dramatically ramp up our research, convening, and thought leadership to help solve some of the biggest challenges facing our region.”

The Sustainable Solutions Lab is a partnership between five colleges and four institutes within UMass Boston: the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Management, the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, the McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, the School for the Environment, the Institute for Asian American Studies, the Institute for New England Native American Studies, the Mauricio Gastón Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy, and the William Monroe Trotter Institute for the Study of Black Culture.

“Given UMass Boston’s unique role as the region’s public research university and our deep connections to the community, we are uniquely situated to develop sustainable and equitable solutions to the impacts of climate change,” said J. Cedric Woods, director of the Institute for New England Native American Studies.

This year alone, the SSL released three major reports around financing climate resilience, the feasibility of a harbor barrier in coming decades as part of larger resilience efforts, and the need for upgraded governance structures.

As an interdisciplinary center of research and action, SSL plays an important role in supporting equitable climate resilience. Little research to date has focused directly on the unique challenges that low-income communities and communities of color face in this time of climate change. By the fall of 2020, the SSL plans to release a report on how Greater Boston residents view and experience climate change. SSL is also focused on strategic convenings including a quarterly Climate Adaptation Forum in partnership with the Environmental Business Council of New England.