At the Special Congregation marking the 60th Anniversary of the University of Ghana in 2008, the President of Ghana announced a gift from the government of Ghana to the University of Ghana of sixty million Ghana Cedis to be provided over a ten year period. Half of this amount i.e., thirty million Ghana Cedis was to be used to create an Institute for Environmental and Sanitation Studies (IESS). The new Institute was created following Council ratification of an Academic Board decision on the 7th of March 2010 which accepted a report of a committee set-up to examine the modalities and operation of the proposed institute. This new semi-autonomous institute is initially linked to the Faculty of Science and has as its aim “Provision of broad-based education, training and research in science, management, policy and governance of environmental and sanitation issues relating to Africa and with the global context”.
The Institute has absorbed two existing units, the Volta Basin Research Project (VBRP) which will be re-named and reorganized to reflect its new broader scope, the Ecological Laboratory Center (Ecolab) and the multi-disciplinary interfaculty Graduate programme in Environmental Science. It will also be the home of the Center for Applied Urban and Regional Studies. Three other divisions of the Institute are being developed during the inception phase of the Institute: Sanitation Science, Sustainable Science and Environmental Modeling. Prof Chris Gordon was appointed in July 2010 as the founding Acting Director.