U California Los Angeles Responds to White House Call
(U.S.): In response to the 2012 White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the university recently introduced plans to participate in the Grand Challenge Initiative with six projects focused on pressing sustainability issue. The first of six projects, "Thriving in a Hotter Los Angeles," aims for the region to use exclusively renewable energy and local water by 2050 while protecting biodiversity and enhancing quality of life. The remaining five projects will be announced over the next five years.
Northwestern U Sustainability Center Expands Scope
The university's Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern recently became an institute (formerly an initiative), and has expanded its scope to include interdisciplinary research. New research facilities to house university and visiting scholars are currently under construction and expected to open in 2014.
USDA Awards Grant to Study Trees as Bioenergy Feedstock
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture recently announced it will be awarding $10 million to a Colorado State University consortium to study the major challenges limiting the use of insect-killed trees as a sustainable feedstock for biofuel. Project partners include University of Idaho; University of Montana; Montana State University; and the University of Wyoming.
Griffith U Creates Climate Change App
(Australia): The newly released Coastal Ecosystems Response to Climate Change Synthesis Report app, which provides critical information for anticipating how climate change may impact on coastal Australia, will help the public navigate through science and make decisions about the growing climate change threat.
U Canterbury Green Roof Research Shows No Need for Water
(New Zealand): University researchers recently released that green-planted roofs do not need to be irrigated in winter or summer to thrive. Research also revealed the benefits to an on-campus river, for which they won a local award.
U Maryland Initiates Rain Garden Construction & Research
(U.S.): The soon-to-be-completed rain garden will be remediated using native plants and stored in underground cisterns for pollution monitoring. The water will be reused on the university's Public Health Garden, Teaching Garden and Community Garden.
U California Berkeley Opens Food Research Institute
Called the Berkeley Food Institute, the new interdisciplinary center brings together five colleges to foster innovative connections between research, education, policy, practice, and social movements that develop and strengthen sustainable food and agriculture systems which are healthy, just, diverse and resilient.
Valparaiso U Opens Solar Energy Research Facility
The newly dedicated and fully operational James S. Markiewicz Solar Energy Research Facility will provide undergraduates and graduates with engineering and research opportunities. Funding for the facility came from a gift from James S. Markiewicz and the U.S. Department of Energy.
Loyola U Chicago Expands Biodiesel Teaching Lab
(U.S.): After recently winning the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's People, Prosperity & the Planet award competition for a proposal that included a living machine to clean biodiesel's "wash water", the university expanded its processing lab to include larger tanks with site glasses and color-coded piping.
Energy Dept. Awards $6.5M for Biofuel Research
The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced that New Mexico State University will receive $5 million toward algae yield increases while California Polytechnic State University will receive $1.5 million for the research and development of algae productivity. The new investments will help develop cost competitive algae fuels and streamline the biomass supply chain for advanced biofuels.
U Melbourne Debuts Green Roofs for Research, Education
(Australia): Divided into three sections, the Research Roof will operate as a testing facility for the university's urban horticulture team, the Biodiversity Roof aims to provide a protected space for experimentation with Australian native plants, and the Demonstration Roof serves as an exhibition and interpretive space, designed for educational activities.
12 Institutions Kick Off Green Chemistry Commitment
Organized by nonprofit Beyond Benign, the Green Chemistry Commitment is a new consortium of universities and industry partners designed to increase the number of green chemists and scientists in the U.S. and the opportunities available to them in the field. Green chemistry encourages chemists and scientists to develop safer, non-toxic, renewable chemistry and materials. A 2011 report from Pike Research forecasts that the worldwide green chemistry industry will soar to more than $100 billion by 2020 from less than $3 billion in 2011.
Masdar Institute Researchers Convert Algae into Biofuel
(United Arab Emirates): A group of researchers at the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology are using native algae to convert organic matter in camel dung into a biogas that can be used in place of normal diesel and natural gas. Eventually, the plan is to build industrial-sized bioreactor tanks near the coast, where the algae are grown and harvested.
U West Indies to Open Renewable Energy Research Center
(Republic of Trinidad and Tobago): As part of a Memorandum of Understanding between the U.S. Department of Energy and Trinidad and Tobago, the center will be focused on critical technologies for renewable energy in the Caribbean.
U Calgary Researchers Study Climate Change in Cold Regions
Funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada's new Climate Change and Atmospheric Research initiative, four researchers at the university will receive $418,100 over five years to explore the impact of climate change on the water cycle and ecosystems of cold regions. With the goal of gaining information and tools for water resources managers, the team will study the contributions of glacier meltwater to Alberta's rivers and how this runoff is likely to change in light of glacier retreat in the Canadian Rockies.
Portland State U Studies Public Perception of e-Bikes
University researchers are loaning out locally made, GPS-equipped electric-assist bikes (e-bikes) to 120 people to learn about their actual experience using the bikes. The research will help determine whether e-bikes can increase cycling as a transportation option, particularly among women, older adults and people with physical limitations.
U Iowa Study: Social Responsibility Leads to Economic Stability
Firms that make greater investments in corporate social responsibility initiatives see less risk in their stock prices during economic downturns, according to a new study by the university's assistant professor of finance. The research looked at the stock prices of 3,005 firms from 34 countries between 2004 and 2010, factoring in the social and environmental risk factors of each company including labor relations, health and safety, recruitment and retention strategies, progressive workplace practices, and environmental and climate risk.
UC Berkeley Graduate Student Awarded Schmidt-MacArthur Fellowship
Architecture graduate student Antony Kim and his faculty mentor are one of 10 teams selected worldwide for the new Schmidt-MacArthur Fellowship. Focused on finding self-sustaining sources of lighting in low-income housing developments, their project will look at incorporating natural and LED lighting that is more affordable for developers and aesthetically pleasing for occupants.
U California Santa Cruz Students Receive NSF Research Fellowships
Three doctoral students in the Environmental Studies Department have received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship for 2013. Ann Drevno will analyze strengths and weaknesses of regulations at the urban-agricultural interface; Justine Smith will examine behavioral and ecological responses of mountain lions and their prey to habitat fragmentation in the Santa Cruz Mountains; and Rachel Wheat is focusing on the impacts of Pacific salmon availability on terrestrial wildlife.
U Canterbury Researchers Produce Findings for Green Roof Pilot
(New Zealand): Researchers have investigated the benefits of green planted-roofs for the New Zealand built-environment. Initial findings into a year-long ecological pilot study have found that storm water run-off is reduced by half on a planted roof in comparison to an unvegetated roof.
U Minnesota Earthducation Program Goes to the Arctic
(U.S.): The university’s Earthducation is a series of seven expeditions to every continent designed to create a world narrative of the dynamic intersections between education and sustainability. A small team of researchers has begun Expedition 5. During the two-week, 100-mile expedition, the team will visit schools, teachers, and classrooms in the Canadian Arctic to learn about their educational needs and discover how global climate change affects these communities.
U Minnesota Implements Living Lab Program
The university has launched a Living Laboratory program that allows students and faculty to apply to use campus land for research and educational purposes. Approved applications are expected to dovetail with current or planned campus renovations and identify possible sources of funding.
Ben-Gurion, U Michigan Partner for Energy Research
(Israel, U.S.): Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the University of Michigan have signed a $2 million partnership to develop a three-year collaborative renewable energy research program. The project aims to tackle challenges in the fields of vehicle fuels, solar energy and thermoelectric materials.
NY Times: 'U Tennessee Wins Approval for Hydraulic Fracturing Plan'
(U.S.): The University of Tennessee has received permission from the Tennessee Building Commission to lease more than 8,000 acres of state-owned land to an energy company for hydraulic fracturing, a process known as “fracking,” and then use the profits from the lease to study the environmental impact of the natural gas extraction technique. The proposal has been met by public protests and environmentalists worry the process could release harmful chemicals that would contaminate drinking water.
New Mexico State U Explores Sustainable Wastewater Treatment
Researchers have begun testing a new system to treat wastewater that uses less electricity than conventional sewage plants and uses photosynthesis to produce renewable surplus energy. If successful, the POWER (photosynthetically oxygenated waste-to-energy recovery) system will provide a more sustainable method for treating wastewater, a new viable approach to producing electric power and liquid biofuels, and a revenue stream to offset infrastructure improvements.
U Dayton to Research Renewable Energy for Air Force
The university’s Research Institute has been awarded a five-year Air Force Research Laboratory contract with a $99 million ceiling for research, testing and transition of new energy and environmental technologies to the Air Force and other Department of Defense agencies. The contract included an initial award of $1.5 million for evaluation, testing and installation of advanced renewable energy storage and management technologies
Pennsylvania State U to Create Sustainability Institute
The university has announced the launch of a Sustainability Institute to bring together researchers, educators, students, staff and community members from multiple colleges, campuses and frames of reference. An aim for the institute is to dissolve the traditional boundaries of the classroom to partner operations with research, teaching and community engagement.
U Arizona Ranked Top in Nation for Environmental Research
The university has been ranked as the top environmental university in the U.S. based on several measures of productivity for research publications in environmental science, according to a report published in the Journal Science of the Total Environment. The study was based on the Thomson Reuters Web of Science database to analyze research report indicators such as the number of top-cited articles published by an institution, scientific publications resulting from collaborations, and the lifespan and history of articles.
U Wisconsin Oshkosh Biodigester Team Studies New Bioplastic
(U.S.): Researchers and students have begun working with local, regional, national and international companies to test bioplastics in a new Biodigester and also at the connected UW Oshkosh Environmental Research and Innovation Center (ERIC) laboratory. The plastics research testing will focus on the impact of new biodegradable plastics on the environment; the biogas and energy yield of the materials as they decompose; and the readiness of a mass-consumer public to embrace the next-generation materials.
Virginia Tech Creates Center for Leadership in Sustainability
The interdisciplinary center, launched by Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment, integrates graduate and professional education, research, and engagement activities focused on building partnerships and leadership for environmental sustainability.
Oxford U Partners with India to Launch Development Center
(U.K.): With a joint contribution of £8.3 million, the Government of India, Oxford University and Somerville College have partnered to establish an International Development Center. The initiative aims to engage in research concerning issues surrounding India’s development in the 21st Century, with a focus on food security and environmental sustainability.
U Greenwich Receives Funding for Green Power Plant
(U.K.): An experimental power plant is to be built at the university as part of a cross-channel project to find sustainable sources of green energy. Students and staff will conduct research on the glycerol-fueled plant to find cost-effective and environmentally efficient ways of using glycerol. The project is backed by the European Development fund through a $5.3 million (USD) grant.
U Haifa Debuts Green Roofs Ecology Research Center
(Israel): The university’s Green Roofs Ecology Research Center will focus on research and development of non-irrigated green roofs, improving biological diversity and generating new ecological and evolutionary theories. Recently dedicated following a gift from a British expert in the field, the center will allow for a thorough examination of flora survival and need for artificial irrigation on roofs in Mid-East climates.
U York, Korea Partner to Advance Green Chemistry Research
(U.K.): The university’s Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence at York and the Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology have signed an agreement to establish a basic framework for conducting cooperative activities aimed at enhancing their respective scientific and technical knowledge. The partnership will also include the exchange of researchers and collaborations in green chemical technology.
U California Berkeley Students Win Dow Sustainability Award
In recognition for research addressing significant global concerns, three graduate students have received a total of $12,500 from the Dow Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge Award program. The students’ research included developing a method of harvesting biofuel from algae using fiber optics, and a study on the decontamination of waterborne pathogens and arsenic from water.
U Michigan to Develop Center for Great Lakes Restoration
A new $9 million research and education center will guide efforts to protect and restore the Great Lakes region by reducing toxic contamination, combating invasive species, protecting wildlife habitat and promoting coastal health. Made possible with a $4.5 million, three-year grant from the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, the university will add an additional $4.5 million to the project over three years.
Partnership Program Launches on Green Chemistry Innovation
Saint Mary’s University in Halifax has partnered with Green Centre Canada and Springboard Atlantic Inc. to launch the Atlantic Green Chemistry Innovation program. The program will accelerate the commercialization of sustainable chemistry-related technologies in Atlantic Canada.
Manhattan College to Open Center for Urban Resilience
The college has announced plans to open a new Center for Urban Resilience and Environmental Sustainability this fall. The goal of the center is to help faculty that already have great strengths in sustainability research to collaborate in ways that will help find solutions to the environmental challenges of cities and their surrounding areas. The center will also support outreach to private and nonprofit organizations, while fostering the further integration of environmental education into the college’s undergraduate program.
U Wisconsin Madison to Study Human Component of Green Building
A team of researchers will receive $1.7 million over the next four years through the National Science Foundation's Sustainable Energy Pathways program to examine holistic ways to link the technological aspects of producing more energy-efficient buildings with the human parts of the equation. In addition to examining a range of techniques that potentially could provide savings in energy consumption, the project also contains an educational component that will include interactions with local high schools and a cross-disciplinary capstone course at the university.
Humboldt State U Conducts Electric Vehicle Study
The university’s Schatz Energy Research Center will conduct a plug-in electric vehicle planning study as part of the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program. The multi-year study is funded through the California Energy Commission and will prepare Humboldt County for the broad scale adoption of electric vehicles.
West Virginia U to Research Global Green Energy Development
The university has received a grant from the National Science Foundation to research clean energy development in West Virginia and the Shanxi Province of China. A team of four experts and faculty will conduct research for approximately three years and will focus on links among energy consumption, the economy, the environment and technology.
RIT to Create Green Office Supplies Research Hub
The new lab at the institute’s Golisano Institute for Sustainability will act as a research hub for the manufacturing of green office products and services. The institute will collaborate with Staples to find innovative solutions for product design, manufacturing and packaging that reduce environmental impacts.
U California Berkeley Researchers Develop Low-Cost Solar Cells
The new technology allows low-cost, high-efficiency solar cells to be created from almost any type of semiconductor material. Through a process of chemical doping, abundant inexpensive materials that otherwise would not work well can be used to create solar cells.
U Alaska Fairbanks to Unveil Sustainable Research Village
Starting this fall, student residents in the new four-bedroom units in UAF Sustainable Village, a community of four homes on the southern edge of campus, will commit to a low-impact lifestyle that includes recycling, conservation and using alternative transportation whenever possible. Researchers will monitor the energy use of various systems including an integrated heating and ventilation system, a solar hydronic system and a biomass stove. They will also study how foundations interact with permafrost and the economics of sustainable building. The university self-financed the $1 million project and will pay off construction costs with student rents.
Portland State U Unveils Public Research Garden
The university's new Shattuck Hall Ecological Learning Plaza, formerly an old metal security shed, will be used as a testing ground for designing and researching sustainable building materials and methods. The space will transform with each research project. Currently, the plaza features an experimental sloped green roof system and green walls equipped with solar-powered tools to monitor their potential for stormwater mitigation.