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Ecofutures Design LAB


Let's work together to create futures that foster Hope, Resilience, & Action

EcoFutures Design Lab supports students, researchers, and communities in imagining and creating more just ecological and energy futures.

We use 'design' in the broadest sense--as a term of inquiry, observation, and planning for a future. Our research takes design methods as tools and nature as a guide to help us explore and create these futures.

Environmental conservation

Lets find creative ways to restore ecological systems

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Let's learn how to creatively restore ecosystems in your community to create a more resilient environment.


Let's engage in technology in ways that foster hope for the future so we are empowered to act.


Let's collaborate to shifting our society to one that honors the earth and each other.

Our Guides

Ecological Restoration

sustainability design

complex social-ecological-systems

transition design

Science and Technology studies

adaptive epistemologies

participatory research


Ecologist determined a plant.

Conservation Technologies

environmental sensing


novel forms of monitoring

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Who We are:

Dr. Shana Lee Hirsch

University of Washington, HCDE

EcoFutures Design Lab was founded by Dr. Shana Lee Hirsch, Senior Research Scientist in the Department of Human Centered Design and Engineering. Dr. Hirsch who works at the nexus of ecological science and design. She draws from her transdisciplinary background in water resources, ecology, and natural resource management and her experiences working with scientists that are on “the front lines” of climate change in their daily work. Dr. Hirsch established EcoFutures Design Lab in 2022. Our purpose is to create a research program that supports diverse ways of knowing, creating, and designing to bring about systemic change and address future challenges. Dr. Hirsch' academic publications can be found here. Her book, published by UW Press can be found here.

Sites of inquiry:

Renewable energy futures

Our research examines how novel forms of renewable energy such as marine energy and offshore wind are supported by innovation ecosystems, how communities and individuals interact with these forms of energy, and how they can be just and equitable.

Ecological Restoration

Our research seeks to understand how those tasked with restoring environments are adapting their scientific practices to deal with new ecological futures. We ask how ecological restoration might serve as a tool for reconnection and relationship..

Conservation Technologies

We create and experiment with novel technologies to support monitoring and understanding ecological change. One example of this is aquatic environmental DNA, which we are using to understand changes in amphibian species after ecological restoration.


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Date Ecologies Lab


Pacific Marine Energy Center


Pacific Northwest National Laboratory


Nippon Foundation

OceanNexus Center

University Marine Energy Research Community


Recruiting Phd student fall 2024

I will be recruiting 1 PhD student to collaborate on a funded project within the Pacific Marine Energy Center. The student will earn a PhD in Human-Centered Design and Engineering. They will conduct research on community-centered co-design of marine energy technologies, with the community broadly conceived as engineers, developers, users, and communities of place. The student should have a strong interest in conducting applied, qualitative research at the intersection of energy and/or environment and society/technology.

Interested students should apply to UW HCDE by the deadline November 30th, 2023.

More information can be found here or by emailing slhirsch@uw.edu

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