Villanova U Receives Gift for Interdisciplinary Initiative on Poverty & Inequality

Spurred by a $1 million gift from Villanova alum, a new interdisciplinary initiative will support programmatic efforts to generate ideas and policy solutions to address the systemic issues of inequality. The initiative will also include an annual symposium focused on identifying the most promising approaches to eradicating poverty and eliminating disparities associated with race, disability and difference.

Loyola U Maryland Creates Institute for Race, Peace & Social Justice

Loyola University Maryland’s Office of Equity and Inclusion and Loyola College of Arts and Sciences are launching the Karson Institute for Race, Peace and Social Justice to address racial inequities locally and nationally. The institute aims to provide a space for researchers, students, social justice workers and activists to come together to research, discuss, debate and explore answers to critical questions on inequality, injustice and racial inequity in the United States.

U California San Diego Receives $39M for Renewables Integration Research

The National Science Foundation recently awarded $39 million to a team of engineers and computer scientists at UCSD to build a testbed to better understand how to integrate distributed energy sources, such as solar panels, wind turbines, smart buildings and electric vehicle batteries, into the power grid. The goal is to make the testbed available to outside research teams and industry by 2025.

U Massachusetts Amherst Begins Equity & Climate Change Project

The new project called Elevating Equity Values in the Transition of the Energy System (ELEVATE) unites scholars from across disciplines to conduct research at the intersection of electricity technology, climate science, social equity, and energy economics and policy, with the aim of ensuring transformation of the electric grid is both sustainable and benefits all members of society equitably. The program was awarded two grants totaling $6.3 million from the National Science Foundation.

Columbia U Launches ‘Carbon Dioxide Removal Law’ Database

Researchers at the university recently launched a database of carbon dioxide removal laws. The database, which is publicly available at cdrlaw.org, contains resources on legal issues related to carbon dioxide removal, including such techniques as: direct air capture; enhanced weathering; afforestation/reforestation; bioenergy with carbon capture and storage; biochar; ocean and coastal carbon dioxide removal; ocean iron fertilization; and soil carbon sequestration. The database also includes resources on carbon capture and storage, utilization and transportation.

Rutgers U Receives $15M Grant for Global Racial Justice

Rutgers president announced recently the receipt of a five-year, $15 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the establishment of the Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice. The institute will support and amplify the scholarship of researchers who are based in the humanities or lean on humanistic methods and whose work has consequences in areas such as policy reform, K-12 education, social justice work and the carceral state. The institute will span the entire university and will include centers at Rutgers’ campuses in Newark, New Brunswick and Camden.

U Strathclyde Opens Center for Sustainable Development

(U.K.) The new Center for Sustainable Development aims to prioritize education and awareness of sustainable development, apply and build expertise and research capacity in sustainability, grow international partnerships, and contribute to and benefit from knowledge sharing and thought leadership.

U New Mexico Appoints Director of Sustainability Studies Program

In June, Dr. Melinda Morgan became the director of the sustainability studies program and now also holds the W.K. Kellogg Chair in Sustainable Environmental & Food Systems. In the role, Morgan aims to create a transdisciplinary research collaborative to look at the social-ecological system dynamics of water supply, climate change and wildfire in the Rio Grande watershed.

Loyola U Chicago Announces School of Environmental Sustainability

The university's board of trustees recently announced the elevation of the Institute of Environmental Sustainability to the School of Environmental Sustainability, creating Loyola’s 11th school. In an effort to amplify cross-school interdisciplinary collaborations and research, there will be four new interdisciplinary areas of study introduced: the departments of energy and sustainability science, sustainable and equitable societies, sustainable economics and governance, and environmental toxicology and health equity.

U Illinois Chicago to Lead Consortium of HSIs

The university recently announced its role as lead university of Crossing Latinidades, a new consortium of 16 Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) with the R1 designation in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Supported by a $150,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the consortium will feature four pilot collaborative working groups that will develop proposals of comparative research, scholarship, teaching and resource sharing built around the themes of material culture, language and identity, climate change and inequality, and poetry.

U Houston Gets Grant for Carbon Management Projects

The university's Center for Carbon Management in Energy recently awarded $275,000 in research funding to cover a range of projects from converting carbon to fuel and other useful products to a proposed new wireless monitoring system for carbon capture storage. The Center for Carbon Management in Energy was launched as a University research center in 2019 to form an academic-industry consortium to reduce industry’s carbon footprint and find new business opportunities for carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gas emissions.

College of the Holy Cross Launches Environmental Justice Prize

The college's environmental studies program recently announced the creation of the Jairam Miguel Rodrigues Rao Prize for work that addresses environmental racism and justice. The prize aims to recognize faculty who design their courses and research around the program's objectives.

U Kentucky Launches Civil Rights & Education Initiative

The university recently announced a collaboration between its College of Education and the NAACP to develop an education and research initiative focused on educational equity, civil rights and social justice. Advancing and protecting education for all students in preschool through higher education will be the initiative’s focus, with particular emphasis on race-based discrimination. The initiative will also focus on students who are marginalized in the education sector based on ability, gender, ethnicity, age, class, religion, sexuality, and other markers.

Cornell U Explores Ground Source Heating With $7.2M Grant

The university recently secured a $7.2 million U.S. Department of Energy grant to fund exploratory research on the feasibility of using a novel geothermal energy system to heat campus buildings. Ground source heating is part of Cornell's Climate Action Plan as a potential means for carbon neutrality by eliminating fossil fuels for heating.

Ohio U Installs Planted Roof

The Schoonover Center for Communication now harbors a partially vegetated roof, which will serve as a home to research projects, replete with equipment to track temperature, ultraviolet radiation, air quality, biodiversity, water runoff and water quality. The initiative was funded through a series of grants that engaged faculty from numerous departments interested in research data from the project.

Shaw U Launches 'Center for Racial and Social Justice'

The purpose of the new Center for Racial and Social Justice is to enable meaningful social change by fostering engagement around civil and human rights, spiritual formation, discernment and social justice. Featuring research activities and academic programs that celebrate the university’s heritage of racial and social justice advocacy, the center will introduce a series of certificate programs that promote activism, strategic thinking and leadership development to confront the nation and world’s great challenges related to racial and ethnic differences.

U California Signs Open Access Agreement

The university recently announced an open access publishing deal with Springer Nature in an effort to get research into the hands of scholars and the public helping solve the world’s most pressing problems. Under the four-year agreement, all UC research published in more than 2,700 of Springer Nature’s journals will be open access. In addition, the deal commits Springer Nature and UC to launching an open science pilot project in 2021.

Boston U Announces Center for Antiracist Research

The university recently announced that Ibram X. Kendi, author of "How To Be an Antiracist" and 2012’s "The Black Campus Movement", will join and launch the BU Center for Antiracist Research. While the details of the center have not yet been finalized, Dr. Kendi outlined its broader mission: foster collaborations across the university; build multidisciplinary problem-centered research teams; assist faculty from all corners of BU with converting racial research into media pitches and books; collect, organize and utilize data on racial inequity; and organize public events, including the Antiracist Book Festival. Photo by Stephen Voss

Three Universities Collaborate on Waste Research

Princeton University, the University at Albany (lead university) and the University of Michigan, along with the Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, recently announced a research collaboration to transform how organic waste, such as food waste, is handled. The goal is to develop economically viable methods to convert wet organic waste into high value products. The DOE has allocated $2.7 million to the project, and the consortium is adding an additional $709,550 to bring the total budget to more than $3.4 million.

Climate Science Research Universities Form Alliance

The International Universities Climate Alliance is a new collaborative of over 40 climate research universities aiming to increase access to research-based facts on climate change science, impacts, adaptation and mitigation. UNSW Sydney is currently spearheading the alliance.

Stanford U Announces Climate & Sustainability School

The university president in a recent address to the Academic Council announced the creation of a school focused on climate and sustainability that will help the university address the challenges facing the planet. In addition to leveraging the university's climate and sustainability research areas, the school is also to include a sustainability neighborhood providing place-based education and sustainability across the curriculum, and an accelerator, which would drive new sustainability solutions through external partnerships with government, industry and nongovernmental organizations.

Boston U Student Research to Aid Carbon Reductions From Landscaping

The university aims to convert some of its mulched spaces to plants and trees after research from the Campus Climate Lab and an earth and environment undergraduate student revealed that mulch and the maintenance of grass lawns negatively impacts the campus’ carbon cycle.

U California Launches Institute for Organic Research & Education

The university system's first-ever institute for organic research and education will be established in the UC's Agriculture and Natural Resources division with a $500,000 endowment gift from Clif Bar & Company and $500,000 in matching funds from UC President Janet Napolitano. The California Organic Institute will accelerate the development and adoption of effective tools and practices for organic farmers and those transitioning to organic.

Arizona State U to Plant Carbon Sink & Learning Forest

The university will plant 1,000 desert trees on what is currently an empty plot of land to help meet its goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2025. The forest will be used as a way of sequestering carbon and will be open for university researchers and classes.

Pennsylvania State U Launches AI for Social Good Research Center

A new, multi-unit research center launched this spring aims to promote the thoughtful development and application of artificial intelligence (AI) and study its impact on all areas of human endeavor. The Penn State Center for Socially Responsible Artificial Intelligence will encourage that all AI research and development activities consider social and ethical implications as well as intended and possible unintended consequences.

Imperial College Partners on Climate Change Risk Management Projects

(U.K.) The Center for Climate Finance and Investment at Imperial College Business School is working with international banking group Standard Chartered to help translate academic science into effective solutions for businesses in order to mitigate financial risks presented by climate change.

U Michigan Center to Focus on Equity in Computing Tech

A new Center for Ethics, Society and Computing will research inequality, exclusion, racism and sexism in digital media and computing technologies, such as artificial intelligence.

Pennsylvania State U Adopts Open Access Policy

Under the new policy, university researchers automatically grant Penn State a non-exclusive license to make their work available through the university’s open access institutional repository, which is designed to help increase the global visibility and impact of Penn State research and scholarship. The new open access policy took effect on Jan. 1 and applies to all university faculty and staff, university appointees, graduate and post-doctoral research assistants or fellows, and visiting scholars.

U Buffalo Receives $3.2M for Indigenous Studies Department

The university's College of Arts and Sciences recently received a $3.174 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in support of a new department of Indigenous Studies. To be launched over the next four years, the proposed department will focus on humanities-centered research, educational programs and community outreach aimed at addressing key issues central to indigenous life in the region, as identified by faculty, students, alumni and community stakeholders from the surrounding Haudenosaunee territories.

William & Mary Receives $19M for Environmental Institute

The college recently received a $19.3 million gift from an alumna who wishes to remain anonymous to establish the Institute for Integrative Conservation. To be launched in 2020, the institute will be a cross-disciplinary and cross-sector institute to advance solutions to the world’s most pressing conservation and sustainability challenges.

California State U Channel Islands Receives Grant for Plastic Pollution Research

The university recently received a grant for a special microscope that will aid undergraduates in identifying the chemical fingerprint of microplastics, which is used to determine the sources of plastic pollution. The aim of the research is to measure the effectiveness of microplastic reduction programs.

Northwestern U Resilience Research Project Wins $150K

The Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs awarded roughly $150,000 to support an interdisciplinary project called “Disproportionate Impacts of Environmental Challenges”. The project, involving 12 Northwestern scholars and practitioners and outside experts, is aimed at mitigating climate change, biodiversity loss, desertification, deforestation, pollution and other global environmental challenges that will require unprecedented community-based cooperation and research creativity.

15 Collegiate Teams Selected for Marine Energy Competition

The U.S. Department of Energy Water Power Technologies Office recently announced 15 collegiate teams to embark on the first-ever Marine Energy Collegiate Competition. This competition challenges interdisciplinary teams of undergraduate and graduate students from a variety of programs to develop new marine energy solutions.

California State U Los Angeles Opens Center on Urban Sustainability

The new Sikand Center for Sustainable and Intelligent Infrastructure (Sikand SITI Center) was established through a five-year, $1.25 million gift from The Sikand Foundation to the university’s College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology. The gift and the center will expand the university’s research in urban sustainability.

U Pittsburgh Launches 'Center for Sustainable Business'

Established with seed funding from The Heinz Endowments, the Center for Sustainable Business aims to engage global and regional companies in more effectively integrating environmental and societal concerns into their business models.

Colorado State U Launches 'Impact MBA'

The new Impact MBA through the university's College of Business offers two distinct tracks – the Corporate Sustainability Track and the Social Entrepreneurship Track. The Corporate Sustainability Track of the program aims to equip students with the analytical skills to lead change within an organization by presenting the business case for sustainability projects. The Social Entrepreneurship Track was previously offered as the Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise MBA.

Caltech to Receive $750M Donation for Environmental Research

Philanthropists and entrepreneurs Stewart and Lynda Resnick have announced an unprecedented $750 million pledge to the California Institute of Technology to support research in solar science, climate science, energy, biofuels, decomposable plastics, water and environmental resources, and ecology and biosphere engineering. In recognition of the investment, Caltech will construct a new 75,000-square-foot building, to be named the Resnick Sustainability Resource Center. The center will serve as the hub for energy and sustainability research on campus as well as the home of undergraduate teaching laboratories.

Virginia Institute Marine Science Receives Research Funding for Estuaries

The university's Center for Coastal Resources Management recently received funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to better track the amount of organic matter stored in coastal ecosystems. Researchers will develop a model for mapping and quantifying organic matter in the coastal habitats of Virginia and North Carolina, such as seagrass meadows and tidal marshes. The new model is expected to improve carbon-stock records and coastal soil maps.

Southern Illinois U Carbondale Receives $900K for Solar Plus Storage Project

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Energy recently issued a $900,000 grant award to the university for a photovoltaic-plus-energy-storage and communication resiliency project. The project will feature more than 150-kilowatts of solar generation and 310 kilowatt-hours of storage capacity. The project intends to demonstrate that photovoltaic systems with energy storage provide a viable alternative when selecting backup power sources for small-scale applications.

Villanova U Launches Center for Biodiversity & Ecosystem Stewardship

The new center, launched through the university’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, seeks to advance research that is focused on the biological principles, components and ramifications of biodiversity and ecosystem science in a changing world.

Arizona State U Partners on Water Efficiency Research

The university will participate in research with the city's water services department through a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The water conservation research will use the university's 12 acres of soccer fields to test the efficacy of hydrogels, which can potentially absorb up to 400 percent of their water weight and release nearly all of it back into the turf as needed.

Illinois Central College to Install Remediation Wetland

Currently under construction, the wetland will aid in removal of nitrate that is found in the runoff water from 50 acres of on-campus farmland demonstration fields. The water will move through drainage tiles underground and into streams that later end up in the Illinois River.

UC3 Launches 'Research for Policy Platform'

The University Climate Change Coalition (UC3) launched the Research for Policy Platform at their inaugural event in July. The joint research and development platform will establish a unified set of principles and policies in order to directly support higher education leaders in local, national and international, 1.5 degree-aligned climate policy engagement. The coalition now includes 20 research universities with the recent addition of Queen’s University and The University of Utah.

NOAA Awards $175M to U Maryland for Earth System Studies

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has awarded a five-year, $175 million cooperative funding agreement to the University of Maryland for collaborative research in Earth system science called the Cooperative Institute for Satellite Earth System Studies. Led by two principal investigators from the UMD and one from N.C. State University, this institute will be a national consortium of more than two dozen academic and nonprofit institutions aimed at research activities covering three themes: satellite services, Earth system observations and services, and Earth system research.

NOAA Selects Seven Institutions to Conduct Sea Ecosystem Research

NOAA’s Cooperative Institute for the North Atlantic Region (CINAR), hosted by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, has partnered with the University of Maine, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth School for Marine Science and Technology, University of Rhode Island, Rutgers University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, and the Gulf of Maine Research Institute to carry out innovative, multidisciplinary research that will help inform decisions for sustainable and beneficial management of the U.S. Northeast continental shelf ecosystem.

U Maryland Receives $2.3M for GHG Reduction Research

Former mayor of New York City, Michael R. Bloomberg, committed $2.3 million to the university's Center for Global Sustainability to evaluate and analyze current U.S. greenhouse gas emissions reductions. As the U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Action, Bloomberg will submit the findings to the U.N. to demonstrate U.S. progress in meeting carbon reduction commitments made under the Paris Climate Agreement.

NCAR Launches Interdisciplinary Climate Change Research Program

The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is launching the Early Career Faculty Innovator Program this summer, naming nine early-career faculty members from U.S. universities to conduct interdisciplinary research into the impacts of climate change and natural hazards on U.S. coasts. Each faculty member will bring a graduate student to assist with research. Faculty were selected from Columbia University, New York University, Stanford University, Stony Brook University, University of Central Florida, University of Connecticut, University of Oregon, University of South Carolina and Virginia Tech.

U Michigan Initiates Sustainability Research Grant Program

The new Catalyst Grant program from university's Graham Sustainability Institute aims to address the challenges of safe drinking water, climate change vulnerability, sustainable livestock production, and the health and energy justice impacts of electricity generation. Led by multidisciplinary faculty teams, these new Catalyst Grant projects will lay the groundwork for ongoing collaborations and develop tools and recommendations for decisions that advance sustainability. In its inaugural year, the four projects were selected from eight proposals submitted by 21 faculty members and researchers across nine units. Each of the selected proposals will receive $10,000 to support collaborative research activities.

Stony Brook U Partners With Sustainable Energy Research Center

In an effort to support, foster and accelerate research, the university and the San Diego-based Center for Sustainable Energy recently signed an MOU assess the regional and global commercial potential of clean energy strategies that contribute to the U.S. transition to a low-carbon economy and to secure additional funding for projects. An overarching aspect of the collaboration will be to target greenhouse gas reduction projects that advance the goals of existing programs focusing on climate change.

Two Faculty Win Sustainable Chemistry Challenge

The first prize, worth over $56,000 (50,000 euros), in the 2019 Elsevier Foundation-ISC3 Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge went to Dr. Ramia Albakain, associate professor at the University of Jordan, for development of a technique to remove toxic metals from medical wastewater, making it safer for agricultural irrigation. The second prize, worth over $28,000, went to Dr. Ankur Patwardhan, head of the Biodiversity Department at Maharashtra Education Society’s Abasaheb Garware College, for development of a natural pollinator attractant formulation aimed at enhancing floral visits by butterflies thereby increasing plant-pollinator interactions.