Brief History


In late 2013, the Office of the Executive Vice President at Purdue University established the Center for Global Soundscapes (CGS) as a transdisciplinary center affiliated with Purdue’s Discovery Park. Discovery Park was established at Purdue in 2001 as a multi-purpose zone where scholars from a variety of disciplines come together to innovate across four broad mission areas: discovery, learning, engagement and innovation (i.e., commercialization). CGS was awarded a center launch grant from the Purdue Research Foundation with participating faculty in the Colleges of Agriculture, Engineering, Liberal Arts and Science. The grant established research, education and outreach signature programs that focus on advancing the use and understanding of the collection of all sounds of a place – a soundscape – to address problems related to biodiversity, human-nature connectedness as well as promotion of natural sounds to support of healthy living spaces.

In the summer of 2014, CGS was physically moved from the Forestry Building on the Agricultural campus to Purdue’s Discovery Park, which technically is located off-campus. This move provided CGS with the fastest network on campus and co-located it with Purdue’s Center for the Environment (C4E), Purdue’s Climate Change Research Center (PCCRC), and Purdue’s Public Policy Research Institute (PPRI). In that same year, NSF awarded CGS (Pijanowski, PI) with a Research Coordination Network (RCN) grant that provided funds for a variety of workshops to coordinate research and train the next generation of scholars in the field of soundscape ecology. This network, called the Global Sustainable Soundscape Network , hosted 12 workshops, 9 in the US and three internationally (Costa Rica, Colombia and Mongolia). The RCN grant also provided small seed grants to groups to purchase sensors to establish their own research pilot projects.

The Purdue launch grant also provided funds to create a citizen science app and platform called Record the Earth that was released on Earth Day (April 22) of 2014. Over 2500 citizen scientists from over 100 countries participated in a record your own soundscape effort.

Also in 2014, NSF awarded the center (Pijanowski, PI) an Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) grant to develop a giant-screen, dome theater educational film called Global Soundscapes! A Mission to Record the Earth. This interactive film was produced by a team of university academics and informal STEM learning scholars at science centers and small film studios. The interactive film is distributed by Fox Fire Interactive of Boston, MA ( and as of 2024, is being shown in the United States, Canada and Germany. The NSF grant also supported the development and release of a middle school STEM MOOC (Massively Open Online Course) called

In 2016, CGS released a soundscape highlights SoundCloud site at

In 2019, Purdue’s Discovery Park awarded CGS with a small grant to develop a proof of concept portable, immersive exhibit that utilized experimental speakers created from glass and fabric. The exhibit, called Digital Borneo, features the sounds of the paleotropical rainforests in the morning in eastern Brunei with interactive AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality).

Digital Borneo Exhibit

In 2021, Purdue reoriented Discovery Park and repurposed the space where CGS resided, and it moved to its current location on the third floor of Lilly Hall. A significant upgrade to the network supporting CGS was made in the summer and fall of 2021 to the Lilly Hall space. CGS also became affiliated with the Institute for a Sustainable Future which was created from a merger and reorientation of the Center for the Environment and the Purdue Climate Change Research Center.

In 2022, CGS launched its Fellows program with the goal of recognizing scholars and local support staff that provide in-kind assistance to CGS or have spent time at CGS as Visiting Scholars. As of early 2024,
over 50 Fellows have been appointed. CGS has a long tradition of taking group photos with everyone having an “are you listening pose?” with the hand next to an ear. These continue today occurring at research locations around the world as well as group settings (e.g., on campus poster sessions) and at social events (e.g., bowling parties).

Listen to the Sounds of Mongolia: