The UNC-Coastal Studies Institute


Roles and Responsibilities

The Northeast region of North Carolina is home to a wide array of ecosystems and rich cultural history. The unique landscape has made the area highly desirable, full of environmental beauty and economic opportunity. CSI is here to facilitate enculturated, place – based research and education programs engaging stakeholders around an array of issues such as water: quality, fisheries, renewable energy, maritime heritage, and coastal economies.     


In partnership with East Carolina University, UNC Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, UNC Wilmington and Elizabeth City State University,  the UNC Coastal Studies Institute (UNC-CSI) serves as a true demonstration of innovation in research and education. The LEED Gold certified campus is located on Roanoke Island in the Outer Banks with a unique multi campus partnership to fulfill the university’s mission to undertake research, offer educational opportunities, provide community outreach programs, and enhance communication among those concerned with the unique history, culture, and environment of the maritime counties of North Carolina.


The campus, completed in 2012 and awarded the LEED Certification, demonstrates how architecture can seamlessly develop a relationship with the surrounding ecosystem. UNC-CSI was also awarded with:

  • 2014 Chicago Athenaeum International Architecture Award for Best New Global Design
  • 2014 AIA Triangle Honor Award
  • 2013 AIA North Carolina Honor Award
  • 2013 USGBC North Carolina Sustainability Award


The campus spans 213 acres of marshes, scrub wetlands, forested wetlands, and sound ecosystems. While the institute emphasizes northeastern North Carolina in its outreach and educational programs, its scope also encompasses all of the eastern coast of the United States and the mid-Atlantic.
Research at UNC-CSI covers a broad range of pressing environmental concerns faced by coastal North Carolina and the delicate ecosystems that are present. By bringing together skilled professionals, scientists, academics, and locals to the North Carolina coast, UNC-CSI can provide unbiased research to decision makers of the area, resource managers, and the public.

The Board of Directors advises the institute on research, education, outreach, development, and policy. UNC-CSI also receives direction from the Scientific Coordinating Committee in matters of current and future research, education and outreach efforts.



UNC-CSI’s research focuses on five main areas: