About the Shaw Institute

30 Years of Environmental Impact Research 

The Shaw Institute is a nonprofit scientific research organization based in Maine and New York City. Founded in 1990 by Dr. Susan Shaw (as the Marine & Environmental Research Institute), its primary mission is to discover and expose the effects of toxic chemical exposure and climate change on human and ecological health, and to engage in strategic partnerships to improve life on the planet. For three decades, the Institute’s pioneering research on ocean pollution, oil spills, flame retardants, plastics, and climate change has fueled public policy nationally and internationally.


New Name & Expanded Vision: Institute changes name to honor its founder's legacy


In April 2018, the Trustees of the Marine & Environmental Research Institute announced a name change to the Shaw Institute to acknowledge the founder Dr. Shaw and honor her legacy of 30 years of environmental impact research. The new name also accommodates Dr. Shaw’s vision and the organization’s expanded research portfolio. The Center for Environmental Studies was renamed the Blue Hill Research Center in recognition of the Maine community that has served as the organization’s home since 1990.



Reckless Endangerment: The Gulf Oil Spill Revisited - Susan Shaw at TEDxMidAtlantic


Focus Areas

Through its focused initiatives, the Institute addresses critical health and environmental issues related to toxic chemical exposure among people and wildlife. From ocean plastics to human and wildlfie exposure, we strive to bring science-based solutions to these priority concerns.

Human Exposure

Plastics and

Marine Wildlife Exposure

Oil Spill Response

Maine Coast Monitoring

Lecture Series

News & Events

Our 2018 Environmental Lectures focus on Climate Change, Exposure and Human Health. Lectures are free and open to the public, and begin at 6 pm following a reception at 5:30 pm.

Wednesday, June 27   Caveat Emptor! Cell Phones, Brain Cancer, PCBS and Diabetes

David Carpenter MD, Director, Institute for Health and the Environment and Professor, School of Public Health, SUNY, Albany presents breaking news on the health threats posed by high frequency radiation from cell phones and living near a PCB waste site


Wednesday, July 18  "Raising" Titanic: The Next Expedition AND Biomimicry: Solutions for the Planet 

Renowned ocean explorer and robotics pioneer, Dr. Dave Gallo returns with the next chapter in the saga of the legendary RMS Titanic. Can the vessel be rescued from its resting place over 100 years?

Biomimicry Educator Dimitri Smirnoff, MSc. explains how biomimicry can be used to solve the world’s problems by asking, “how would nature do it?”


Wednesday, August 1   BLUE: The Day the Seas Changed (Repeat Screening)

This award-winning feature documentary invokes a stunningly beautiful yet besieged ocean world.  “A cinematic song for our oceans; beautiful, intimate and grand. Fearlessly truth telling, yet passionately hopeful.”


Wednesday, August 22   The Forever Chemicals in our Water

Sharon Lerner, award-winning investigative journalist for The Intercept reports on her latest findings on the ongoing crisis in the U.S. drinking water supplies.

Wednesday, September 5    Breakpoint: Reckoning with America's Environmental Crisis

Eminent ecologist Prof Jeremy Jackson returns to talk about his travels across America to better understand our mounting environmental problems. He will also discuss emerging and achievable solutions to preserve the country’s future.


How you can help support our important work

Your contribution supports our work to protect wildlife and people from the harmful impacts of toxic chemical exposure.


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