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The Rise of Environmental Research

The Rise of Environmental Research

  • Education
Elizabeth KoprowskiNov 26, 2015

Do you excel in science and problem-solving? Do you like to use logic, reasoning, and deduction to approach tough issues? Do you have a passion for the environment and conservation? If you answered 'yes' to these questions, then a career in environmental research may be the right path for you. Read on to find out more about environmental science and why it's a smart choice for forward-thinking students.

What is Environmental Research?

woman researcher testing the water quality

Environmental research is an interdisciplinary branch of natural science that focuses on the way that natural and outside forces interact with the environment. Environmental research is a relatively new area of scientific research that emerged out of the environmental movement of the 1960s and 70s and the study of ecology. It gained momentum during the latter part of the twentieth century and is now a vital and important field that works in many sectors, including government and technological innovation.

Environmental researchers are scientists who study the environment and assess how factors affect and change the natural world. While environmental scientists often focus on things like pollution, and other types of decay or damage to the environment, they also seek to understand how the natural world functions and the impact that human beings and other animals have on environmental systems.

Environmental science is based in the natural sciences – biology, geology, physics, and chemistry - but also employs methods and approaches from social sciences and the humanities. Environmental scientists must consider politics, ethics, and social factors when making analyses, and they often work closely with governmental agencies, industries, and communities. The field requires good communication skills as well as strong analytic and research skills.

The field of environmental science has a wide range of applications and offers many exciting job prospects. Environmental scientists may work in research, application, or education sectors, and jobs are not just laboratory-based. While some environmental scientists run experiments or analyze samples and data, others work in the field collecting information, observing natural systems, and implementing solutions. Still others work in teams with professionals in industry and government to assess risks or develop plans for conservation.

Why is Environmental Research is on the rise?

Environmental research is closely related to ecology and environmentalism, which came to the forefront of scientific research during the second half of the twentieth century. In the 1960s and 70s, scientists, and writers like Rachel Carson, began to report shocking and sobering facts about the human impact on the natural world and human consumption of natural resources. Now, environmental science is more important than ever, and environmental scientists work to understand how humans interact with the environment and ecosystems, how to protect our renewable resources, and how to preserve the nonrenewable ones. But environmental science isn't just a watch-dog for the natural world. Environmental researchers work in many sectors and are on the front line of innovation and technology. Environmental scientists are:

A Wind Turbine on a Wind Farm  in summer day

· Researchers: study the environment to identify interactions, threats, and new opportunities

· Teachers: inform the public so that people can work to protect and preserve their environment

· Consultants: work with businesses and industry to find solutions to existing problems or to prevent future ones.

· Innovators: develop technologies that will help preserve and protect resources and the environment.

Umeå Faculty of Science and Technology: A very good place for research

The field of environmental science offers a huge range of meaningful career opportunities because it has so many practical and necessary applications. Umeå University in the beautiful river city of Umeå, Sweden is a great place to get a degree in Environmental Research that will set you on a path to a dynamic career. The Faculty of Science and Technology is forward-thinking and research-driven, with a reputation for national and international excellence. The faculty offers a range of undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral level studies. Some of the degrees like the Master's in Chemistry, form a solid base for future studies or careers in applied sciences. Others, like the Master's in Ecology, aim to give students the tools to specialize in exciting areas of applied science and environmental research. For students hoping to focus on ecology in the Nordic landscape, Umeå's Master's Programme in Geoecology concentrates on the Nordic region and looks at the impact of natural and human forces on climate, geography, and the environment. Umeå also encourages inter-disciplinary studies and collaboration. For instance, the Master of Arts Programme in Sustainable Architecture is based in the University's top-rated School of Architecture, but includes elements of ecological and environmental research.

Credit: Umeå

Umeå is an excellent choice for students from around the world who have a passion for environmental science, innovation, and technology. If you're pursuing a post-graduate degree, Umeå offers master's programs in English. The Faculty also hosts more than three hundred doctoral students, and strives to create a relaxed, creative environment for research.

Elizabeth Koprowski

Elizabeth Koprowski is an American writer and travel historian. She has worked in the higher education system with international students both in Europe and in the USA.