GLRC Profile

The Great Lakes Research Center (GLRC) provides state-of-the-art laboratories to support research on a broad array of topics. Faculty members from many departments across Michigan Technological University’s campus collaborate on interdisciplinary research, ranging from air–water interactions to biogeochemistry to food web relationships.

The GLRC is a Michigan Tech research institute, and the Center for Water and Society (CWS) has chosen to become affiliated with the GLRC.  CWS brings a broader scope of research to the GLRC, which fosters more interdisciplinary and collaborative research among all members.

One of the GLRC’s most important functions is to educate the scientists, engineers, technologists, policymakers, and stakeholders of tomorrow about the Great Lakes basin. The Center for Science and Environmental Outreach provides K–12 student, teacher, and community education/outreach programs, taking advantage of the Center’s many teaching labs.

The GLRC also contains a lake-level marine facility and convenient deep-water docking, providing a year-round home for Michigan Tech’s surface and sub-surface fleet of marine vehicles, including:

Surface Fleet

Subsurface Fleet

  • Outland Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs)
  • VideoRay ROV
  • IVER 3 Fully Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV)

Location, Location, Location

Michigan Tech is located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, an area rich in natural wonder. Students, staff, faculty, and visiting scholars work, study, and play—all in a rugged and beautiful location.

Right in my Backyard

Houghton, home of Michigan Tech, lies in the heart of the scenic Keweenaw Peninsula. Campus overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway, a long, winding ribbon of water that spans the peninsula.

Just a few miles from campus, on either end of the waterway, lies Lake Superior—the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area. With Lake Superior less than an hour’s ride from the Center aboard the RV Agassiz, researchers spend their time where it matters most: on the water.

Living in a Winter Wonderland

As one of the top ten snowiest locations in the nation, wintertime activities abound in Houghton. The area receives, on average, 250 inches of snow (and plenty of both shore-fast and storm-tossed ice) each season. With this snowfall and ice comes exquisite Arctic-like winter research opportunities and recreational sport options. Michigan Tech is home to Mont Ripley ski hill and the Tech Trails and Recreational Forest Nordic ski trail system.


Great Lakes, Great Design

The Great Lakes Research Center’s architecture is reflective of the mission of Michigan Tech research programs, is respectful of the campus setting, and provides a distinct and personal image for the Center.

Material choices support our goal of minimizing long-term maintenance costs, reducing energy consumption for the facility, and minimizing building material use.

The building (which had a price tag of $25.3 million) has forms, materials, and technology integration that enable us to tell the story of water. The Lake Superior environment helped inspire the building’s materials, which include red case stone (providing a distinct rock-face texture), aquatint glazing used in windows and curtain wall systems, and metal panels in shades of buff, oxidized copper, and gray.

Green Solutions . . .and Green Roofs

The Center’s green roofs serve much more than simply an aesthetic purpose. A low-lying carpet of plants live on many second-floor roofs, which soak up runoff and act as natural temperature regulators—helping to keep the building cool in the summer months.

LEED Energy Rating

The Center was built to LEED Silver standards, which encompasses design considerations in areas including:

  • site sustainability,
  • water efficiency,
  • energy and atmosphere,
  • materials and resources,
  • indoor environmental quality,
  • innovation in design, and
  • region-specific environmental issues.