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Centers and Institutes

Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences Institute (EPSSI)

The Earth Planetary and Space Sciences Institute (EPSSI) is a focus for interdisciplinary activities in earth, atmospheric, oceanographic and space sciences at Michigan Technological University. EPSSI's purpose is to enable its members to offer programs and pursue research opportunities in those disciplines that go beyond the scope of individual academic departments.

Remote sensing comprises not just instrumentation or measurement tools, but represents a perspective that employs a broad morphology of disciplines and demands interdisciplinary breadth. For example, current members collaborate on projects spanning imaging science, atmospheric science, data/signal processing, data visualization, and remote sensing instrumentation. These are typically applied to a specific problem in earth system science, ecosystem studies, limnology/oceanography, global change, and a host of other areas. At least nine different departments currently have faculty members participating in EPSSI.

EPSSI's goals are to work by consensus to promote remote sensing and related topics on the Michigan Tech campus through:

  • interdisciplinary coursework and programs,
  • group funding efforts for equipment and research,
  • interdisciplinary seminars and short courses, and
  • development of a campus culture that actively supports trans-disciplinary activities.

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Great Lakes Research Center (GLRC)


To be a leader in interdisciplinary aquatic science and engineering focused on the Laurentian Great Lakes Basin in its entirety through excellence in research education and outreach.

The vision of the Great Lakes Research Center (GLRC) is to become a world-class institute in interdisciplinary aquatic sciences, policy, engineering, and technology. We will develop unparalleled strength and expertise in four core areas: aquatic ecology and ecosystem dynamics, marine engineering and technology, aquatic resources and human dimensions, and education and outreach. Research at the GLRC will not only advance our knowledge in these four areas of focus but will also inform resource managers and the general public, enabling them to advance the sustainable use of freshwater resources.

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Keweenaw Research Center (KRC)

Keweenaw Research Center (KRC) is a multidisciplinary research center wholly supported by external corporate and governmental agency funding. Research and development activities are primarily based on a broad spectrum of ground vehicle performance.

Typical activities include:

  • vehicle design and operation as an integrated system,
  • research in vehicle mobility,
  • material properties of tracked and wheeled vehicle components,
  • vehicle-terrain-human interactions, and
  • noise, vibration, and sound quality.

Computer-aided engineering and modeling are used extensively. KRC provides opportunities for undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty to perform research in several areas: composite materials, finite element methods, and vehicle dynamics modeling.

KRC maintains more than 740 acres of proving grounds, including many miles of prepared test tracks. Ride and handling loops, a circular track, an ice rink, a snow-packed area, and a rugged off-road obstacle course all provide the backdrop for research in vehicle mobility.

The Institute of Snow Research, an auxiliary component of KRC, is engaged in basic and applied research into snow, ice, and cold-environment engineering. Fundamental study of ice sintering, dynamic behavior of snow, and the mechanism of ice adhesion are examples of recent work. In addition, the Institute works in several areas related to snowmobile safety, including trail grooming and layout, trail safety signs, and the effects of snowmobile track studs on public road crossings.

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Michigan Tech Research Institute (MTRI)


  • Be a recognized leader in the research, development, and use of information technology to support solution of critical problems in national security, infrastructure, bioinformatics, earth sciences, and environmental processes.
  • Be acknowledged nationally and internationally as an innovator for the marriage of phenomenological understanding and implementation of mathematically rigorous algorithms to build information from data in support of sponsor needs.
  • Provide visibility and outreach for Michigan Technological University in Southeastern Michigan.
  • Establish collaborations with Michigan Tech academic departments, institutes, and centers to increase funded contract revenues for all organizations involved.
  • Maintain a creative environment that rewards and encourages innovation.

MTRI is a recognized leader in the research, development, and practical application of sensor and information technology to solve critical problems in national security, protecting and evaluating critical infrastructure, bioinformatics, earth sciences, and environmental processes.

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Michigan Tech Transportation Institute (MTTI)

Mission: The Michigan Tech Transportation Institute (MTTI) will provide the operating structure, resources, recognition, and leadership, in a collaborative environment, that supports research, education, and outreach leading to sustainable solutions for transportation.

MTTI is an umbrella organization bringing together the cross-disciplinary centers and principle investigators conducting transportation-related research and education initiatives that address national and global needs. Principal Investigators conduct transportation research under MTTI within six transportation-focused areas: 

  • Transportation Structures including bridges, pavements, and pipelines. Other related areas include geotechnical, construction, and nanotechnology related to sensors.
  • Transportation Materials including concrete, asphalt, steel, wood, and aggregates. Other related areas include construction, geotechnical, and nanotechnology related to sensors and materials.
  • Transportation Systems including waterways, traffic/safety, construction, rail, air, public transportation, freight, intelligent transportation systems, vehicle infrastructure integration, nanotechnology related to sensors, and radio frequency identification devices.
  • Environmental Aspects of Transportation including environmental impacts, energy, carbon dioxide and other pollutants, fugitive dust, wildlife, flora and fauna, and carbon credits.
  • Social Aspects of Transportation including policy, planning, human factors, history, economics, and archeology.
  • Transportation Technology Transfer including all outreach, management systems, and workforce development programs.

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Sustainable Futures Institute (SFI)


To create and disseminate new scientific knowledge and engineering products in support of sustainability research and education.

The Sustainable Futures Institute (SFI) will assimilate the multiple skills and capabilities required to support a new metadiscipline of sustainability science, including:

  • the fundamental physics, chemistry, biology, and mathematics needed for environmental assessment;
  • ecological economics, including sustainability criteria in economic input-output analysis;
  • industrial ecology and design at the process, plant, firm, regional, national, and global scale;
  • information technology for real-time monitoring of processes, remote sensing of the environment, and geographical information systems;
  • human and environmental impact modeling and risk assessment;
  • social and behavioral research tools, and
  • professional and K-through-gray educational programs, including assessment of their impacts on choices made by design engineers, policy makers, and consumers.

By advancing this metadisciplinary endeavor, the Institute will combine information and insights across multiple disciplines and perspectives.

Learn more about SFI