The Institute for Environmental Studies and Natural Resources (i-UNAT) is one of the university research institutes at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC), whose creation was approved by the Government of the Canary Islands on 15 February 2016.
The i-UNAT is a multidisciplinary institute consisting of eight prestigious research groups in the fields of chemistry, physics, biology, geology and engineering, whose primary mission is to integrate and strengthen the research and studies on the environment and natural resources, with a positive economic and social impact on society.. Thus, its research lines are developed in the following areas:
- Physics of the natural environment and sustainable energy: in the field of characterization, evaluation and physical modelling of the environment, i-UNAT is active in the fields of environmental radioactivity and marine and atmospheric dynamics of coastal zones applied to engineering problems and coastal management. It also addresses studies related to sustainable energy, specifically to marine renewable energy and nuclear fusion energy.
- Chemical environment: this includes the analysis and control of pollutants in the atmospheric, terrestrial and marine ecosystems and their effects on materials and coastal areas respectively, for the development of strategies for the conservation of environmental quality. It also addresses the optimization of clean methodologies for the extraction and determination of organic compounds of environmental interest. It also integrates the synthesis, modification and optimization of photo-catalysts and photocatalytic hydrogen production based on highly photoactive semiconductor materials, engineering photocatalytic reactions and the purification of aqueous effluents by advanced, natural and low cost oxidation treatments.
- Geological and hydrological natural resources: this includes studies of volcanism in the Canary Islands, its geology and risks and the assessment and management the hydrogeology of groundwater as a resource, considering its quality, quantity and pollution. It analyzes and interprets the sedimentary formations and volcano-sedimentary deposits.
- Natural plant resources: this includes physiological and molecular studies of reproduction and growth of seaweeds and biotechnology applications for in vitro propagation and environmental restoration and natural reimplantation. It also includes studies on conservation Biology of endangered plant species and bio-geographical, ecological and genetic knowledge of vegetation in Canarian ecosystems, applying geographic information technologies (G.I.S.), supplemented with analysis, planning and landscape evolution.
- Natural animal resources: this consists of the prospection, evaluation and optimization of fish and shellfish resources. It includes studies aimed at the conservation of marine spaces facing the sustainability and conservation of extractable resources and also coastal management proposals including techniques for the assessment of environmental impact.
- Environmental education and training: this includes the analysis and study of significant environmental problems of our society, using an integrative and multidimensional perspective as a methodological approach, developing strategies to facilitate the enrichment of the instrumental capabilities and enabling the use and handling of sources, media resources and the environment.
Moreover, in the area of service to society, i-UNAT offers an extensive menu of services related to the fields described above, with the mission of responding to environmental challenges and giving advice on the control and management of natural resources.