The main aims of ICENS work are to solve environmental challenges that are of national, regional, and global importance, and to build up the human resource and information bases necessary for sustainable development. The Centre's focus on environmental geochemistry provides data that are applicable to agriculture, natural resources identification, environmental assessment and preservation, man-made and natural hazards, water resource management, and the marine and coastal zones. These areas are fundamental to Jamaica’s socio-economic development and chiefly involve multi-disciplinary studies that are applicable to many environmental and resource components: air, water, soils, rocks, sediments, plants, food animals and humans. They pursue many of the priority areas of the current Jamaican National Science and Technology Innovation Road Map (2012) and Vision 2030.
ICENS curates and preserves the integrity of an extensive endowment of Jamaican environmental field and laboratory data and information gathered over more than 30 years. It also has the expert staff required to make and share optimal use of this endowment.The field and laboratory data produced by ICENS programmes are stored in online multi-purpose databases coupled with a Geographic Information System (GIS) and converted into information visualisations on terrain models which highlight agricultural development, environmental assessment and protection, land use, natural resource identification, mineral exploration, animal and human health and nutrition. These models are powerful tools which can help governments and businesses to test ideas to take realistic and timely decisions.
ICENS work presents numerous opportunities for local and international cooperation and the Centre has developed useful working links with other UWI Departments and Jamaican governmental bodies such as the Mines and Geology Division, Bureau of Standards Jamaica and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
ICENS is a member of the Developing World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) through which it receives visiting researchers for short term fellowships.