<p>Visit the <a href="https://www.georgetown.edu/operating-status">operating status page</a> for information on the university's current operating status.</p>
View of stained glass with the Georgetown University seal

Leading Smithsonian Scientist to Direct Georgetown Environment Initiative

April 3, 2019 ­– Peter Marra, a leading environment and conservation expert, has been named director of the Georgetown Environment Initiative (GEI), the Laudato Si’ Chair in Biology and the Environment, and professor in the McCourt School of Public Policy.

The GEI brings together students, faculty and staff across Georgetown’s campuses – from business, foreign service, the humanities, law, medicine, public policy, the sciences and the social sciences – to contribute to Georgetown’s scholarship and outreach regarding the earth’s stewardship.

The initiative reflects a significant commitment by the university to tackle global environmental issues.

“Dr. Marra has a broad background in environmental science research, policy integration, education, administration and fundraising – experience that makes him the ideal candidate for this important position as we move forward in our efforts here at Georgetown,” says Provost Robert Groves. “Dr. Marra’s devotion to building bridges between science and policy very much impressed the university-led search committee.”

Marra has spent nearly 20 years at the Smithsonian Institution, most recently in the Conservation Biology Institute. At the Smithsonian, Marra conducts and publishes research and supervises a wide range of scientists, educators, postdocs, students and interns.

Scope and Diversity

Marra, who holds a Ph.D. in ecology from Dartmouth College, has developed a significant program at the Smithsonian focused on ecological, behavioral and conservation science, publishing more than 215 peer-reviewed papers and two books, securing more than $20 million in financial support and mentoring more than 75 undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

“I am delighted to join Georgetown University to lead the GEI and work with some of the world’s brightest and most talented scientists, students, legal scholars, educators and administrative staff,” says Marra, who has received numerous research grants from such entities as the National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, National Geographic Society and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. “The reach, scope and diversity of the departments involved, from the School of Foreign Service to the humanities, speak to the truly interdisciplinary nature of the GEI, and are both impressive and inspiring.”

Science, Policy and Business

Marra’s research has incorporated the broader areas of science, policy and business to tackle emergent problems, influence consumer awareness and choice and advance understanding of vexing environmental issues.

He holds a master’s of science in zoology from Louisiana State University and a bachelor of science in biology and chemistry from Southern Connecticut State University.

Marra is an Elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and has received two distinguished research prizes from the Smithsonian Institution and the Elliott Coues Award from American Ornithologists Union.

“Dr. Marra will deepen the bench of environmental experts at McCourt, giving students access to a leading voice in this critically important policy area,” says McCourt School Dean Maria Cancian.