delware environmental institute

Welcome to DENIN: A Network of Discovery and Solutions


Photo of reflections in a puddle with floating leaves; photo by Marianna Bucina RocaOur planet is surrounded by a thin shell of atmosphere, water, and rocky crust, referred to by scientists as the critical zone. This shell, which is reflected in DENIN's logo, extends roughly from the tops of the trees to bedrock, where groundwater no longer penetrates. All life as we know it resides within this narrow band — where land, water, and sky meet and interact.

Much the way many life-sustaining processes take place at the interfaces of soil and water or water and air, at DENIN we believe that we discover more about our environment when we work on problems at the intersection of different disciplines. And when it comes to solving environmental problems, we embrace the social sciences and humanities as well. We humans are shaping our world as never before, and any actions we take or solutions we employ will affect both the natural world and our social and economic systems.

The Institute focuses on core research areas relevant to some of the grand challenges facing our state, our nation, and our world. DENIN research informs decision makers by providing the knowledge that helps create sound environmental policies. By working together with our local and international partners, we are bringing socially acceptable, economically viable, and environmentally sustainable solutions to life.

— Donald L. Sparks, Director


Spring Spotlight

We are currently accepting applications for both our DENIN Environmental Fellows and DENIN Ambassador programs! Online application forms and instructions are available at the links.

The DENIN Fellows program support doctoral students carrying out research that bridges science and society. This two-year fellowship carries a $30,000 annual stipend and a cost-of-education allowance. In addition to their primary research, Fellows work together to plan and lead a number of outreach events and activities each year.

The DENIN Ambassadors are a select group of student volunteers who assist DENIN in reaching out to fellow students. They help spread the word about DENIN activities among their peers, represent DENIN at campus-wide events such as Coast Day and Ag Day, and help to create a sustainable campus by communicating best practices effectively.

And speaking of the Ambassadors, they are holding their annual Ice Cream for the Earth event on Thursday, April 30, from 2–4:00 p.m. on the University of Delaware Green, near Delaware Avene. Stop by for a free cone and sign their banner with your pledge to protect the planet!


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