The application period has closed.

Workshop description

We’re looking for individuals and teams who believe, as we do, that artists, scientists, humanists, and social scientists can join forces to address the serious environmental and climate challenges our planet is facing—starting right on our own campus.

At MIT, Penn State, and other universities, researchers are using their own campuses as incubator and testing sites as they seek strategies for sustainability and environmental resilience. Our talented facilitator can help you design (or enhance) a project that uses the campus or local landscape (“natural” or built) as a living lab whether you’re just beginning to conceptualize a project, hoping to join an ongoing project, or expanding an long-time research collaboration into living lab territory with attention to questions of equity and justice that place-based projects often bring to light. 

This workshop will prepare individuals seeking collaborators or teams of 2–5 artists, scholars, and researchers interested in designing environmental research projects that use the University of Iowa campus and surrounding community as a “living lab” for environmental research. We especially welcome teams of people who are already collaborating.

During the workshop, teams will develop cross-disciplinary research and/or teaching projects that engage with the physical space of the campus (and by extension river, marshland, prairie, and surrounding urban environment). The larger goal is to prototype collaborative environmental research projects for the public good. An added benefit of this workshop is that participants will learn a design-thinking approach that they can take to all future projects.


Each team will leave with a draft proposal for a research grant, a course, or a campus-community project.

When & Where

Friday, April 12, 2024
9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Iowa City (in-person; location and details will be announced to successful applicants in their award letters)

Workshop leader

The Design Workshop for Environmental Studies Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration will be led by Lesley-Ann Noel, professor of design at North Carolina State University. Professor Noel practices design through emancipatory and critical lenses, focusing on equity, social justice, and the experiences of people who are often excluded from design research, especially in educational settings.

Eligibility & application information

Before you come up with your project description, please carefully read the workshop description above.

Please note that one person on your team must be a faculty member with significant research responsibilities. Teams may include 1–5 people. Each team member awarded will receive a taxable $200 honorarium. 

View complete application instructions and apply at the link below.

Please e-mail with any questions.