Andrew Carnegie founded the Carnegie Institution of Washington in 1902 to advance scientific research and understanding in the United States. He intended for the Institution to seek out exceptional scientists and provide them with a flexible environment and the financial independence to pursue their own research initiatives.
On July 1, 2002, Global Ecology became the first new Carnegie Department in more than 80 years, with Chris Field and Joe Berry as its founding members. Global Ecology is a new discipline, based on technologies and concepts that make it possible to study ecological processes and mechanisms at a continuum of spatial scales, up to the scale of the entire planet.
Department of Global Ecology is co-located with Carnegie's Department of Plant Biology on the campus of Stanford University. Carnegie and Stanford students cycle through classes, labs, lectures and events hosted by the institution as well as the university. The Carnegie Institution's rich history with Stanford University and Northern California dates back to 1927.