Danish Academics Call for Climate Leadership

Over 650 Danish academics from multiple research fields in Denmark signed a letter at the end of 2018 calling on universities to immediately develop and implement a series of far-reaching policies to drastically reduce the universities’ carbon emissions. The letter was signed by researchers both inside and outside of climate research and has been sent to all management and boards of universities in Denmark.

UK Government Allocates $22M for Nitrogen Pollution Research

The U.K. government recently announced a $22 million (17.1 million British pounds) commitment for an international research program to tackle the challenge that nitrogen pollution poses for the environment, food security, human health and the economy in South Asia. The South Asian Nitrogen Hub will study the impacts of the different forms of pollution to form a coherent picture of the nitrogen cycle. Comprising around 50 organizations from across the U.K. and South Asia, partners include the Universities of Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Bristol, plus research institutes and universities in South Asia.

Ohio State U Announces Creation of Sustainability Institute

At the opening of the Ohio State Community Engagement Conference, the university president announced the Sustainability Institute, which aims to promote the teaching of sustainability; drive research; work with public and private partners to develop sustainable solutions; engage students in learning about sustainability through research and experiences; and help the university in attracting students, talent and resources.

U North Carolina Pembroke Receives $100K for Water Runoff Research

A $100,000 grant from the Duke Energy Foundation will allow the Lumber River Conservancy and its partners in the UNC Pembroke biology department to study the effects of agricultural runoff, drought and recent hurricanes on the river’s overall health. The results will help the Lumber River Conservancy, regulatory agencies and members of the community make decisions to protect the river and improve its water quality.

Indiana U-Purdue U Indianapolis to Open Inclusion & Social Policy Center

Announced by the university's School of Public and Environmental Affairs and the IU Public Policy Institute, the Center for Research on Inclusion and Social Policy, or CRISP, will serve as a centralized resource for reliable, nonpartisan data, research and analysis on interrelated issues that make up the elements of social policy.

Corporate Knights Releases 2018 Ranking of Sustainable Business Schools

To determine the 2018 Better World MBA Ranking, Corporate Knights assessed 141 business schools across 25 countries. The schools were graded on five indicators: the number of institutes and centers dedicated to sustainable development (up to a maximum of five); the percentage of core courses that integrate sustainable development; faculty research publications and citations on sustainable development themes; and faculty gender and racial diversity (new in 2018).

Yale U Pilots Charging Fee for Waste Disposal

This month, Yale launched a Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT) pilot program in select locations across campus. The pilot includes three different tactics for waste reduction, with two of them containing “test bills," which show how much the building would be charged for the quantity of trash produced. The third approach is comprised of sending monthly waste data and engaging in competition to encourage positive behavior change. The PAYT approach differs from the current protocol, whereby buildings are charged based on square footage, regardless of the amount of waste produced. The program supports the university's diversion goal to achieve a diversion rate of 60 percent by 2024.

Six Public Affairs Schools Announce Diversity Alliance

A collective of six schools of public affairs recently announced the launch of the new Public Affairs Diversity Alliance that aims to encourage and sustain a pipeline of candidates for faculty positions in criminal justice, policy and public administration. American University School of Public Affairs, which initiated and founded the Alliance, will chair the Public Affairs Diversity Alliance for a two-year term. Five other schools have joined as inaugural members: the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan, the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University, the Price School at the University of Southern California, and the Evans School at the University of Washington.

Georgetown U Creates Faculty Research Collaboration

The Georgetown Global Cities Initiative is a network of university faculty and students who share ideas and research on global urbanization. It includes about 70 Georgetown faculty from disparate disciplines who work on the relationship between cities and climate change; governance and diplomacy; history and the humanities; health; sociology; digitization; infrastructure and numerous other issues.

Duke U Pilots Carbon Sequestration Farm

After recently acquiring the rights to a 10,000-acre farm in eastern North Carolina, the university began a two-year pilot program on 300 acres of the land. University researchers aim to identify the best ways to restore the former farm fields to their original wetland state and measure and verify how much carbon the land's saturated peat soil can store. If enough carbon credits can be generated at a cost-effective rate, production will then expand to the other 9,700 acres.

Clemson U Engineering Students Partner on Sustainable Vehicle

Clemson University students are partnering with ExxonMobil to develop an ultra-efficient, lightweight, highly durable sustainable concept vehicle. The project emphasizes the integration of sustainability in the entire product lifecycle – from manufacture and operation with circular economy considerations.

U Wisconsin Oshkosh Launches Creative Scholarship Fund

The university's Sustainability Institute for Regional Transformations (SIRT) program launched the grant program this fall to support the advancement of research, teaching, creative activity and outreach on topics of sustainability. Faculty members from UWO’s three campuses could apply, and in its inaugural year, two groups of applicants will receive $7,500 each.

Georgetown U Offers Master's Degree to Inform Environmental Policy

The new interdisciplinary Master of Science in Environmental Metrology and Policy degree, offered nights and weekends, is designed to equip scientists and engineers to measure and analyze potential hazardous substances in the earth’s atmosphere or on its surface so they can make sound environmental decisions.

U Minnesota Receives $5M for Sustainability Research

A $5 million gift from the Ecolab Foundation will support environmental sustainability research and education. A cornerstone of the Ecolab Foundation gift is $2 million to establish an endowed chair for the Institute on the Environment. The foundation will also invest more than $1 million in undergraduate scholarships in science, engineering and related environmental and sustainability-focused majors and minors, providing renewable awards of $7,500 for diverse and talented students beginning in their sophomore year. Through the Institute on the Environment, the gift also will support immersive student experiences with global and local partners focused on energy, water quality and supply, sustainable development and public health.

Sterling College Accepts $350K to Establish Ecology Center

Sterling College recently announced the new Robert B. Annis Center for Ecology, thanks to a $350,000 grant from the R.B. Annis Educational Foundation. Construction will begin in spring 2019, and $50,000 of the award will be for scholarships for ecology students.

Emory U Receives $650K to Advance Climate Project

The Ray C. Anderson Foundation has awarded a $650,000 grant to Emory University to advance the Georgia Climate Project. This foundational grant will support efforts to build a network of experts who can improve understanding of climate impacts and solutions and better position Georgia to respond to a changing climate. The Georgia Climate Project is a state-wide consortium co-founded by Emory, the University of Georgia, and the Georgia Institute of Technology, and joined by Agnes Scott College, Georgia Southern University, Spelman College, and the University of North Georgia.

Yale U Maps Teaching to SDGs

According to a new report by the Yale Office of Sustainability, 44 percent of its teaching and research relates to at least two Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Using the database that was created for the report, the Office of Sustainability can generate multidisciplinary lists of faculty and researchers by SDG or by interdisciplinary interests.

U New England & Two Icelandic Universities Partner on Ocean Food Systems Degree

The University of New England, University of Akureyri and Holar University College signed an agreement to offer a new Professional Science Master’s degree program in Ocean Food Systems. The new degree will align with the Icelandic universities’ master’s in sustainable production and use of marine bio-resources.

Penn State U CSO Becomes Club of Rome Inductee

Paul Shrivastava, Penn State's chief sustainability officer, director of the Sustainability Institute, and professor of management in the Smeal College of Business, was inducted last month as one of the 100 members of the Club of Rome, which seeks solutions to pressing global problems and is well known for its first report, "The Limits of Growth," published in 1972.

U Maryland Pilot Project Cleans Water & Produces Energy

Helping to keep pollution out of the Port of Baltimore and the Chesapeake Bay while providing a pollution-free source of renewable energy, a university research pilot project harvests algae that is used to filter pollution from water and turns it into biogas, which is used to power flood lights at the algae digester site.

U New Hampshire Receives $1.4M for Aquaculture Training & Research

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently announced that the New Hampshire Sea Grant will receive $1.4 million to expand aquaculture research in New Hampshire. The funding will support two projects. The first one is an offshore aquaculture system that will serve as a training platform to recruit fishermen and farmers to participate in workshops and daily operations of farming steelhead trout and blue mussels. The second is a research project that seeks to assess and mitigate microbial safety issues associated with shellfish aquaculture.

U Maryland Research Technology Helps Clean Up Surface Water

Technology developed at the university's School of Engineering will be used in a new stormwater basin that will capture nutrient pollution in an effort to protect aquatic life in the Chesapeake Bay. Before reaching the bay, stormwater will be captured in an artificial pond lined with a bed of stones and a 12-inch layer of an aluminum-based material known for its ability to bind with and trap phosphorus.

Georgia Tech Pilots Using Wastewater to Grow Vegetables

A U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant totaling $5 million over five years will enable the university to pilot a hydroponic growing system using domestic wastewater extracted from the campus sewer system. The overall goal is to show that using the nutrients and water resources from domestic wastewater in an urban controlled environment agriculture system is socially, environmentally and financially sustainable and can easily be replicated in other cities.

Keele U Opens 'Institute for Sustainable Futures'

(U.K.) Based around six themes each mapped to the SDGs, the new institute will bring together academics, students and other stakeholders to identity sustainability challenges and work together on solutions.

U Wisconsin-Platteville Receives $270K for Sustainable Ag Research

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently awarded $270,000 to the university to continue collaboratively exploring best practices for sustainable agriculture. Plots of land at a local enterprise will be used to evaluate alternative cropping practices and their effect on improved production and sustainability before potentially upscaling the methods. The project intends to take a comprehensive approach to integrating the research with education and outreach components, which will help ensure its value to the local farming community.

Maharishi U Management Receives $200K Grant to Conduct Solar Array Comparisons

In addition to providing a third of the electricity on campus, the university’s new 1.1 megawatt solar array will be compared to another solar array in Iowa. Funded by the Iowa Economic Development Authority, the $200,000 grant will enable evaluation of return on investment, operation and maintenance issues, battery performance, and effectiveness of solar tracking. A state-level committee will evaluate the findings of this research project and consider how to widely apply the lessons learned.

U Arizona Receives Over $1M for Graduate Program Pipeline for Minority Students

A $1.075 million grant from the National Science Foundation allows the the university to continue helping underrepresented students through the Bridge to the Doctorate Program. The program combines financial assistance with opportunities for professional development, such as coaching on scientific writing and assistance with applications for federal fellowships.

Stanford U Launches Sustainable Finance Research Program

The university’s Precourt Institute for Energy is launching a new research program, supported by Bank of America, that will fund research to develop finance and policy tools for financing sustainable infrastructure. The program, called the Sustainable Finance Initiative, seeks to accomplish this by engaging public and private financial institutions, companies and governments with Stanford researchers in economics, law, business and computer science to create solutions that support the transition to a climate-resilient global economy.

U New Hampshire Opens Aquaponic Greenhouse Facility

Under construction for two years, the new aquaponics research facility at the university's Kingman Research Farm will allow scientists to evaluate hydroponic plants grown in a recirculating aquaculture system with nutrients from the food fed to fish. Using three identical greenhouses, researchers aim to develop an economically sustainable aquaculture production system design.

U Exeter Launches Center for Circular Economy

(U.K.) The new center, hosted by the university's business school, aims to support the circular economy research agenda through new educational programs including MOOCs, executive and leadership programs, undergraduate courses and doctoral training. The current research focus is on farming and food, building and construction, waste, and regional approaches to circular economic regeneration.

12-Institution Consortium Receives $4.9M for Open Textbook Pilot Program

The Education Department recently announced that a consortium of 12 universities, led by the University of California Davis, will receive $4.9 million to expand a STEM-focused open textbook repository called LibreTexts by adding publications on STEM, career and technical topics. The other schools are American River College, Contra Costa College, Cosumnes River College, Diablo Valley College, Folsom Lake College, Hope College, Los Medanos College, Prince George's Community College, Sacramento City College, Saint Mary's College, and University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

U Hawai'i Mānoa Launches Institute for Sustainability and Resilience

The new Institute for Sustainability and Resilience will promote environmental sustainability and community resilience in Hawaiʻi through sustainability-focused curricula and solution-oriented approaches to research and community partnerships. The university has appointed professor Makena Coffman as director, who currently serves as chair of the city and county of Honolulu Climate Change Commission.

Leuphana U Lüneburg Receives Funding for 'Dilemmas of Sustainability’ Project

(Germany) The university has received $1.06 million (900,000 Euros) for the Dilemmas of Sustainability project, which aims to empirically investigate the use of the term sustainability and develop criteria that can be used to assess sustainability programs and projects. Funding for the project comes from Ministry of Science of Lower Saxony and the Volkswagen Foundation's Science for Sustainable Development funding program.

Syracuse U to Open Center for Social Justice With $5M Gift

A Syracuse University alumni couple is providing a $5 million donation to support the creation of the Lender Center for Social Justice, which will include research support, symposia, and faculty and student fellowships. The center aims to support innovative and multidisciplinary research of contemporary social problems while providing proactive and concrete approaches and solutions.

Pennsylvania State U Establishes Dual-Title Doctoral Program in Climate Science

The new dual-title degree program is based on the idea that climate science is relevant across many different disciplines. Students electing this degree program will earn a doctorate with a dual-title in the participating program and in climate science. The program aims to provide a curriculum in climate dynamics and observations, numerical and statistical methods, the physical climate system, biogeochemistry, and human dimensions of climate change.

U Maryland Receives $3M NSF Grant to Launch Graduate Program

The $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation will be used to establish a new graduate training and research program, Global STEWARDS (STEM Training at the Nexus of Energy, Water Reuse and Food Systems). The program seeks to enable UMD to recruit and train more than 60 doctoral students in the life sciences, earth system sciences, engineering and computational sciences, natural resource management, and energy and environmental policy.

Western Carolina U Hosts Air Quality Monitors

Clean Air Carolina, a North Carolina advocacy group, recently provided air quality monitors at two university locations for both research and providing real-time data to the public about weather fluctuations and particle pollution in the region. Students will be involved in data collection and measuring environmental hazards, with applications for course work, research projects and regional ecological assessment.

Teams From Two Universities Win Affordable Housing Design Competition

Teams from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte won first and third, while a team from California College of the Arts won second place in the 2018 Steel Design Student Competition, put on by the American Institute of Steel Construction and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. The Affordable Housing category is socially oriented to challenge students to design affordable multi-family housing in an urban context.

Purdue U Receives $70M to Lead Research Consortium on International Development

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded $70 million to the university to lead a multi-university consortium that aims to devise evidence-based solutions for pressing development challenges. The consortium will help USAID identify research challenges across all its technical sectors and geographical locations and identify experts worldwide to answer questions about the challenges, such as food security, global health and early childhood education. Purdue’s supporting partners in the consortium are Indiana University and the University of Notre Dame.

U Western Australia Tests Driverless Electric Bus

(Australia) The autonomous driving bus travels at 5 kilometers per hour (3.1 miles per hour) and can carry up to 14 passengers. Students and faculty will evaluate the accuracy and reliability of autonomous driving and the effects the vehicle has on other traffic, such as cyclists and pedestrians.

U Maryland Professor Collaborates on $1.1M Grant to Study Sea-Level Adaptation

A professor of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture at the University of Maryland will collaborate with researchers from George Washington University, University of Delaware, and Resources for the Future using a $1.1 million grant to further research on sea-level rise and saltwater intrusion on Maryland's Eastern Shore. The research combines crop research, wetland ecology, geological and chemical analyses, and economic modeling to determine what crop management strategies work in saltier environments and to identify practical applications that will be the most cost effective and profitable. The project’s outreach initiatives will include webinars, the creation of educational materials, and train-the-trainer sessions.

Georgia Southern U Dining Offers Farm-to-Table Program

Thanks to a new in-house partnership, the farm-to-table program will feature food from the university's aquaponics farm, the Foram Sustainable Aquaponics Research Center. The aquaponics system is located in an approximately 4100-square-foot greenhouse that supports student and faculty research in multiple departments.

U Cambridge Establishes Sustainability Fellowship Program

(U.K.) The Prince of Wales Global Sustainability Fellowship Program was recently launched by the the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership to provide a platform for academic departments, Cambridge colleges, and the private sector to collaborate to identify breakthrough solutions to meet the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Penn State U University Park Releases Pollinator Video Game

A collaboration between the university's School of Visual Arts and the Center for Pollinator Research led to the creation of Pollinator Panic, an online strategy game that raises awareness of the issues around bee population decline. The game allows a player to assume the role of a field researcher who is working to restore a bee community.

7 Universities Receive Energy Dept Funding for Solar-Thermal Desalination Research

The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced $21 million for 14 projects, of which $11.4 million went to seven universities. The projects will focus on reducing the cost of solar-thermal desalination and helping the technology to reach new markets, including to areas that are not connected to the electric grid. The seven schools selected and funding allocated were Columbia University ($1 million); Oregon State University ($2 million); University of California, Los Angeles ($2 million); University of California Merced ($1.1 million); University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ($1.6 million); University of North Dakota ($2 million); and Rice University ($1.7 million).

Oregon State U Faculty & Students Endorse 'Warning to Humanity' Article

The university's Faculty Senate and Associated Students passed a joint resolution last month endorsing “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice", an article published in the journal Bioscience that documents changes in environmental factors over the last 25 years. While the article says that progress has been made in addressing some environmental issues, it suggests that humanity is continuing to risk its future. The article has been co-signed by more than 20,000 scientists from 184 countries.

Nova Scotia CC Team Builds Mobile, Solar-Powered Microgrid

The college's Applied Energy Research team has developed a microgrid that uses solar panels and a system of converters and deep-cycle batteries that can store and produce up to 48 kilowatt-hours of electricity. Part of the aim of the research is to build a reliable microgrid that can be deployed to remote areas without conventional power sources, temporary hospitals in disaster zones, and to run small electric cars.

Global Alliance Releases SDGs Report

At the U.N.’s High Level Political Forum in New York earlier this July, a partnership of universities, colleges and sustainability networks called the Global Alliance released a report examining the global contribution of higher education to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The findings highlight the opportunities and challenges in embedding the SDGs in higher education, as well as higher education's commitment to increase its contributions to the SDGs. The report also shows the aspiration of students to learn more about the SDGs and the changing focus of young people as they start to prioritize social justice and environmental ethics.

2018 Biomimicry Global Design Challenge Announces Winners

California State University at Long Beach, Cornell University, Georgia Tech, Tung Hai University (Taiwan), and the University of Utrecht (Netherlands) were recently named institutional winners of the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge, a competition that asks innovators to create nature-inspired inventions that reverse, mitigate or adapt to climate change. Over 60 teams from 16 countries entered the challenge. Finalist teams receive cash prizes and an invitation to the 2018-19 Biomimicry Launchpad.

U Nottingham Partners With Volvo on Energy Storage Research

(U.K.) The new partnership with Volvo Trucks aims to convert diesel engines due for scrap into renewable power storage units that can charge electric bus and truck fleets. The project idea is to re-task the engines to become machines that compress and expand air to store and release energy, called Compressed Air Energy Storage.