Elena Irwin is a distinguished professor of food, agricultural, and environmental sciences in economics and sustainability at Ohio State University in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics and faculty director of the Sustainability Institute at Ohio State. Her research addresses the sustainability of human-natural systems at local and regional scales, with a focus on land use, ecosystem services, and integrated models of land-water systems. She has been PI or Co-PI on multiple research projects totally over $19 million in funding, including funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), US Department of Agriculture, and the Ohio Sea Grant Program. Her current research includes coupled human-natural systems modeling of land use and water quality; food, energy, water systems modeling of the Great Lakes regional economy; sustainability theory and assessment; urbanization patterns and ecosystem services; housing markets and urban redevelopment; and demand for electric vehicles. She was recently appointed to the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (US EPA) Science Advisory Board with a dual appointment to the Agricultural Sciences Committee. In addition she is also a member of the US EPA Board of Scientific Councilors Sub-Committee for Sustainable and Healthy Communities and serving a three-year term as an elected member of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association executive board. She previously served on the boards of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists and the North American Council of Regional Science. She has served on multiple national research committees with the National Research Council and NSF, including a member of NSF’s Advisory Committee for Environmental Research and Education subcommittee on Sustainable Urban Systems (SUS), which produced a 2018 report on the future research SUS agenda. Dr. Irwin earned an undergraduate degree in German and History from Washington University in St. Louis and her Ph.D. in agricultural and resource economics from the University of Maryland. She is a native of West Virginia and has a love of mountains, hiking, and nature.
Professor, Faculty Director
College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, Sustainability Institute, Ohio State University