NY Times Covers Influence of Corporate Funding on Higher Ed Research

Recently published in The New York Times, the article highlights the experience of three professors at different universities–University of Exeter in England, West Virginia University and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich–to examine the ways agrochemical companies influenced scientific inquiry.

U Albany Art Exhibition Focuses on Climate Change

The university art exhibit, called Future Perfect: Picturing the Anthropocene, brought more than 10 artists to the university to showcase artwork dealing with climate change by portraying the effects of humans' presence in the world.

U New Hampshire Organic Farm Launches Innovative Composting Operation

At the university's Organic Dairy Research Farm, students and researchers continue to close the loop of operations through launching a composting program that provides a high-quality compost product and uses compost heat to preheat water for other farm uses.

Furman U Sustainability Center Receives $500K for Fellowships

Former Furman University President David E. Shi and his wife, Angela Halfacre Shi, have made a $500,000 gift to the university that will provide additional financial support for students who are actively involved in the work of the David E. Shi Center for Sustainability. The gift will create an endowed fund to support undergraduate students in sustainability research, service, and internships focused on campus and community-based projects.

Syracuse U Starts Sustainability Scholarship Grant Program

A new university grant program that combines scholarship with campus sustainability is offering up to $50,000 in funding for projects that promote reductions in greenhouse emissions and increase awareness about sustainability. The grants are part of the Campus as a Laboratory for Sustainability program, overseen by a team of faculty from 11 schools and colleges. The project merges academic scholarship with the university’s broad initiatives to meet energy efficiency goals, while having the campus become a testbed for innovative ideas.

Tufts U Launches Climate Policy Lab

The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts announced the launch of its Climate Policy Lab, a research and policy center working to evaluate current climate policies, utilizing empirical, informed research to make concrete recommendations to policymakers around the world. As part of the launch, the lab announced a new partnership with the United Nations Development Program that will support the development of national and local adaptation plans, and the design and implementation of climate change policies.

Yale U Audits Curriculum for Overlap with UN SDGs

The Yale Office of Sustainability started auditing faculty scholarship to see how teaching and research aligns with the 17 U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with a goal of identifying pathways for collaboration between disciplines. Preliminary results show that every department has at least one faculty member whose scholarship relates to the SDGs.

Harvard U Partners on Building Materials Tool

The university is the first founding partner from the higher education community to sign on to Portico, a web-based application designed to simplify the analysis, selection and specification of building products that meet health and transparency objectives. Harvard’s Office for Sustainability and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health's Center for Health and the Global Environment will partner with Healthy Building Network and Google to foster opportunities for faculty and students to use the data available to generate new research and support existing initiatives on healthy buildings that are already underway at the university.

Harvard U Funds Climate Solutions Course and Research Project

The multi-year Climate Solutions Living Lab course and research project is designed to bring together students from across the university in interdisciplinary teams to develop innovative approaches for reducing greenhouse gas emissions at Harvard and beyond. The strategies are intended to be scalable for potential adoption by other similarly situated institutions that want to reduce their emissions and improve public health in and around their buildings.

U Washington to Install Three Solar System Test Projects

Three residence halls will be the recipients of photovoltaic arrays to support research on how solar energy can be combined with other demand-side resources, resources such as battery systems. Seattle City Light's Green Up program is contributing $225,000, which enabled the university to compete for the Washington State Department of Commerce Solar Grant Program that is providing $225,000 in matching funds.

Georgetown U President Responds to Its History of Slavery

After a new report was published by the university's Working Group on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation, which cites the school's involvement in the institution of slavery when it sold 272 enslaved people in 1838, Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia announced that it will issue an apology, give the descendent community the same admissions process considerations as the Georgetown community, develop a public memorial to the enslaved, and establish a new Institute for the Study of Slavery and Its Legacies. In addition, two campus buildings will be renamed.

U Southern Mississippi Announces New School of Ocean Science and Technology

The new marine science center, housed within the College of Science and Technology, brings together marine-related research and education programs under a single administrative unit and coordinates operating budgets and facilities. The goals of the new center are to increase productivity of Southern Miss’ marine-related research, education and economic development enterprises through enhanced coordination of research and education programs, improved opportunities for external funding and increased focus on community and industry relations.

Michigan State U Researchers Examine Building Demolition Process

To address the cycle of urban construction that leads to demolition of abandoned buildings, a university researcher is conducting a feasibility study to examine more sustainable options for managing abandoned properties. Rather than opting for demolition, where most materials are sent to the landfill, structures would be deconstructed for reuse and diverted from the landfill in an attempt to see if a different process could have both environmental and economic value to consumers.

Princeton U Professor Receives EPA Green Chemistry Award

Paul Chirik, Princeton University’s Edwards S. Sanford Professor of Chemistry and associate director for external partnerships at the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, received a 2016 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award presented by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Chirik was recognized for discovering a new class of catalysts that are used to produce silicones that could dramatically reduce the mining of ore and reduce costs, greenhouse-gas emissions and waste.

'Community College Innovation Challenge' Names 2016 Winners

The 2016 Community College Innovation Challenge, a team competition calling for innovative, research-based solutions for food, energy and water, named Forsyth Technical Community College as first place, and Normandale Community College and Virginia Western Community College as tied for second. The competition was hosted by the National Science Foundation and the American Association of Community Colleges.

U California Receives $300K for Carbon Neutrality Project

With a $300,000 gift from the TomKat Foundation, established by Tom Steyer and Kathryn Taylor, the university recently launched the TomKat UC Carbon Neutrality Project. UC Santa Barbara’s Institute for Energy Efficiency will lead the project and bring together working groups of researchers, practitioners and students with wide-ranging areas of expertise from diverse disciplines in order to advance UC’s Carbon Neutrality Initiative, which aims to eliminate the use of fossil fuels through major investments in energy efficiency, behavioral incentives, the development of alternatives to natural gas and the widespread deployment of renewable energy.

Harvard U Sustainability Science Alums Offer Presentations of Work

At a recent 10-year celebration of the Harvard Kennedy School's Sustainability Science Program, more than 70 program alumni gave mini-lectures over the two-day event that celebrated accomplishments and progress, and outlined challenges.

Michigan State U Water Research Reveals Campus Behavior

A recent survey of students, faculty and staff revealed that 37 percent prefer tap water while 36.6 percent prefer bottled water, 39 percent use filtered water stations, and 90 percent understand that bottled water has a higher environmental and economic cost than tap water. These insights will be used to help improve recycling programs and create awareness of refill stations across campus.

U Winnipeg Unveils Climate Change Website

The new Prairie Climate Atlas is an interactive, online tool that uses climate data, geovisualizations and multimedia to map the dramatic changes predicted for the Canadian Prairies. The Atlas is the flagship project of the Prairie Climate Center, which is a collaboration between the University of Winnipeg and the International Institute for Sustainable Development. The goal of the Atlas is to make the best climate science available to a broad spectrum of society.

Furman U Receives $95K Grant for Waterways

The new $95,000 grant from Duke Energy's Water Resources Fund will help the university to protect and enhance the region’s waterways and environment. With the funds, Furman will restore a wetland habitat and build floating marsh islands. The project will be the basis for student-faculty ecological research and community education. Matching funds from the university will construct a pedestrian bridge and provide educational signage. The grant is part of Duke Energy’s Water Resources Fund, a $10 million, multiyear commitment to improve water quality and conservation in the North and South Carolina and neighboring regions.

Michigan State U Students Discover Solution for Polystyrene

A group of students from the Residential Initiative on the Study of the Environment (RISE) program is researching the use of mealworms to degrade this material beyond the industry standard of 20 percent. Funded by the Be Spartan Green Student Project Fund, the Meals for Mealworms project was proposed, researched and executed by freshman students, earning them an invitation to the Clinton Global Initiative University Conference.

Trent U Environmental Studies Institute Receives $1.5M

Following his initial $165,000 gift in 2015 to help launch the university's International Institute for Environmental Studies, Dr. Justin Chiu '76 recently donated $1.5 million in support of the institute, which is in partnership with Nanjing University, to bring experts from universities around the world together to tackle international environmental issues.

U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Starts Styrofoam Recycling Program

Styrecycle, a specialty recycling program created in 2016 by the university, aims to reduce the volume of expanded polystyrene headed to the landfill by using a Styrofoam densifier, a machine that grinds the plastic into small beads and extrudes it in a very dense tube. A local company in Urbana houses and operates the University-owned densifier for free in exchange for the proceeds from the sale of densified Styrofoam.

U Massachusetts Amherst Establishes School of Earth and Sustainability

Approved by the board of trustees in April 2016, the university's new School of Earth and Sustainability will serve as a central hub for a suite of academic programs, research, innovation outreach and extension activities focused on finding solutions to the complex, global environmental challenges of the 21st century.

MIT Report Highlights Creation of Climate Action Advisory Committee

In a new report released in April, MIT announced a new Climate Action Advisory Committee to consult on the implementation of climate plans, develop a set of strategies and benchmarks for the school's engagement with industry, government and other institutions, and assist in finding ways to engage the broader community in climate action. The report also outlines progress on its five-year climate action plan released in October 2015.

Indiana U Faculty Mentors & Students Collaborate in Sustainability Scholar Program

The university's inaugural 2020 Sustainability Scholar program paired undergraduates with faculty mentors from multiple disciplines to conduct high-quality research in the area of sustainability. As part of the program, students were required to complete a research work plan and enroll in a class that explores sustainability research methods.

Harvard U Dispenses $1M Toward Climate Research Projects

Ten research projects driven by faculty collaborators across six Harvard Schools will share over $1 million in the second round of grants awarded by the Climate Change Solutions Fund, an initiative launched last year by President Drew Faust to encourage multidisciplinary research around climate change.

Georgia State U Hosts Inaugural Student Research Award

The university’s Office of Sustainability announced its first-ever student award winners for sustainability projects at the GSA Undergraduate Research Conference held April 13. Lead authors from the top seven projects were awarded $100 funded from the student sustainability fee. Winning initiatives include community engagement, climate change impacts, photography collection of trash from a local river, and environmentally friendly textile dyes.

Four Universities Receive Water Research Funding From EPA

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced $3.3 million to research human and ecological health impacts associated with water reuse and conservation practices. Of the five institutions selected, the four universities are the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Utah State University, University of Nevada, Las Vegas and University of California Riverside. Selected by the EPA in conjunction with the White House Water Summit, this research will evaluate how reclaimed water applications such as drinking water reuse, replenishing groundwater and irrigation can affect public and ecological health.

U Washington Tacoma Tracks Source of Tainted Water

The university's Tacoma campus, UWT, was built on what was once home to commercial and industrial uses such as dry cleaning, auto-repair operations and other manufacturing, reports a recent article from The Seattle Times. University officials have already spent about $7 million since the mid-1990s investigating and in clean-up, but a proposed legal agreement between the UWT and the state Department of Ecology seeks to pinpoint the source.

U California Santa Cruz Researcher Earns NSAC Recognition

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) has given its Sustainability Champion award to the university's alumnus Mark Lipson, currently a researcher with UCSC’s Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. NSAC said the award was made to honor Lipson’s years of service to the organic and sustainable agriculture movement, and his “groundbreaking work on Capitol Hill shepherding historic changes, such as the much-celebrated five-fold increase in funding for organic research secured in the 2008 Farm Bill.”

Boston U Names Head of New Institute for Sustainable Energy

At the Institute for Sustainable Energy, Peter Fox-Penner and his team will focus on increasing energy research initiatives throughout the university, deepening connections among science, engineering and management scholars with policy makers and corporations, and advancing the curriculum at the university's schools and colleges. The institute’s three research focus areas are electric industry transformation, global climate change and smart, sustainable cities.

U Maryland Launches Center for Global Sustainability

The university recently announced the opening of its new Center for Global Sustainability housed within the School of Public Policy. The center will feature a multi-stakeholder approach to analysis and policy assessment. Work will be organized around four topical areas that draw from existing strengths at the university: climate mitigation policy; energy pathways; resilience and adaptation; and ecosystems and health. In celebration of the launch of the Center for Global Sustainability, Al Gore visited the campus on March 1 to pledge his support for the center’s mission of a multi-stakeholder approach to climate change policy.

North Carolina State U Professor Receives $791K for Distributed Energy Research

Dr. Mo-Yuen Chow, professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has been awarded $791,950 from Total S.A. to develop a Cooperative Distributed Home Energy Management System (HEMS) over three years. The objective of this project is to design, develop and demonstrate a cooperative distributed Home Energy Management System (HEMS) for a single house/building as wells as aggregated houses/buildings in a community. The goal is to optimize the cost (e.g., minimize electricity bills, maximize energy storage life span) of each house/building while maintaining the users' comfort level.

U Washington Campus Sustainability Research Projects Receive $190K

The university's Green Seed Fund approved three research projects to split $190,000. The projects include research on the impact of campus landscape changes on stormwater volume and quality, and impact to surrounding wetlands; improving outdated irrigation systems; and design, construct and monitor a new rainwater irrigation system on UW Seattle campus will also provide data.

Case Western Reserve U, Queens College Collaborate on $6.3M Solar Project

Through the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative and in collaboration with Electric Power Research Institute, the $6.3 million cooperative research award was announced that allows Case Western Reserve University, CUNY Queens College, Sustainable CUNY and other collaborators to develop and demonstrate seamless integration of solar photovoltaics and energy storage. The scope of this research project includes development of a controller system that maintains reliability of the electric system, controllable distributed energy resources, improved reliability of generation through forecasting and benefit-cost assessment of integrated, distributed energy resources.

Western Carolina U Grounds Contributes to Human Decomposition Research

The university's grounds crew has been providing wood chips for research to determine the most efficient and environmentally friendly manner of composting human bodies after death. Call the Urban Death Project, two Office of Sustainability interns are assisting with the project that aims to eventually build a three-story human composting facility.

Georgia State U Adds Sustainability to Undergraduate Research Conference

The university’s Office of Sustainability has partnered with faculty and the Honors College to institute inaugural awards for sustainability research projects at its annual Georgia State University Undergraduate Research Conference.

U California Merced Identifies Faculty Climate Action Champion

In its inaugural year, the Faculty Climate Action Champion was recently announced as biodiversity professor Michael Dawson for his work and plan to engage the campus and community in sustainability. Dawson posits that the lines we draw on maps are crucial to the representation of how climate changes the natural world, including species boundaries. By building collaborations in which people from the campus and community explore the concepts of lines and change, he hopes to build figurative and literal understanding of change and sustainability. The Faculty Climate Action Champion program is managed through UC Office of the President.

U Brighton Conducts Research on Innovative Air Monitor

(U.K.): The university's new air monitor has the ability to measure nano-sized particles that can infiltrate the human body by way of the lungs and cause dire health consequences. The city of Brighton has ongoing issues with air quality and the university was selected because of its precise location in the city. Researchers hope that discoveries will pressure policy makers to take more action to reduce air pollution.

Greenpeace Alleges Insufficient Disclosure of Fossil Fuel Funding for Research

An undercover investigation led by Greenpeace UK alleges that two academics agreed to write papers in support of fossil fuel industry without disclosing any financial arrangement or potential conflict of interest. Greenpeace says the willingness of the academics to conceal sources of funding is in contrast with the ethics of some journals. When approached by Inside Higher Ed, the professors indicated their work would have been as independent scholars.

U Virginia Wins $3.56M Grant for Wind Turbine Design

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy awarded the three-year, $3.56 million grant to a university team to build a small-scale prototype of a new kind of wind turbine with blades that fold together like palm fonds in dangerous weather and spread out to catch the wind during good weather.

Colgate U Receives $500K Forest Research Grant

The National Science Foundation awarded $500,000 in funding to an interdisciplinary team of Colgate faculty, led by Associate Professor of Biology Catherine Cardelús, to continue investigating the status and conservation of sacred forests in Ethiopia’s northern highlands.

U Virginia Completes Nitrogen & Carbon Footprint Food Study

Students in the Nitrogen Working Group, which is part of the university’s Environmental Stewardship Subcommittee, came up with a pilot project to give a sustainability rating label to foods sold in the Clark Café. To calculate the footprint of a product, its weight was multiplied by impact factors for carbon, nitrogen and water pollution caused and used.

Harvard U Creates Multi-Disciplinary Global Institute

Called the Harvard Global Institute, the new, multi-disciplinary collaborative provides large grants to teams of established faculty members and smaller grants to faculty members exploring more experimental topics. The grants are intended to foster research in topics that transcend disciplinary and regional boundaries, such as climate change, urbanization, education, water, and migration.

Harvard U Funds Students Conducting Sustainability Research

The university's Center for the Environment provides funding each summer to students who have an interest in working with faculty and their research groups. With topics ranging from growth limitation in New England’s forest trees to housing and air pollution, the program draws undergraduates in concentrations from environmental science and public policy to East Asian studies.

Yale U Partners With MAD for New Food Institute

Drawing upon Yale's varied programming in food studies, the university and MAD, a Danish nonprofit dedicated to improving food culture, just announced a partnership to develop the new institute that will tap into chefs' influence beyond the restaurant. The intent is to allow participants to think creatively and critically about food-related issues and to explore and implement solutions.

Colorado State U & 13 Others Contribute to Water Research Network

The university will join 13 other academic institutions from the U.S. that will establish the Urban Water Innovation Network (UWIN). With $12 million in funding from the National Science Foundation, these institutions, led by Colorado State University, will create technological, institutional and management solutions to help increase the resilience of water systems and enhance crisis preparedness.

U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Allocates $1.2M to 4 Interdisciplinary Projects

More than $1.2 million in seed funding was recently awarded to seed four interdisciplinary research projects through the university's Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment. The selected topics that received over $350,000 each were stormwater and mosquito control, crop response to climate change, renewable energy for transportation, and crude oil cleanup treatment.

Penn State U Students Select Sustainability Research Award Winners

Offered in the spring to undergraduates at all Penn State campuses, three students, Kelsey Czyzyk, Alexandra Sorce and Andrew Madl, received cash awards for their research last week as part of the university's annual Award for Undergraduate Research on Sustainability and the Environment.