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.

Oregon State U Partners for Renewable Energy Research

The university's Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center, U.S. Navy and Department of Energy, students and faculty work via the Ocean Sentinel to facilitate the development of marine energy technology, inform regulatory and policy decisions, and to close key gaps in scientific understanding with a focus on student growth and development.

Emory U Initiates Global Response to Climate Change

Climate@Emory is an initiative of more than 50 faculty and staff from 20 departments across the university. Its goal is to harness Emory's strengths to help it play a leading role in the global response to climate change. Since its launch last fall, the initiative has worked to support, connect and expand Emory's climate-related scholarship, teaching and community engagement.

Emory U Seeks to Map Sustainability Community

Emory's students, faculty and staff who are actively involved in sustainability are contributing to a mapping project to visualize the university's sustainability community in an effort to understand who is actively engaged in sustainability on campus, the type of work they do, and to what extent these individuals and groups collaborate.

U Calgary Partners on Wastewater Research Facility

For the first time, university researchers are working with municipal operators to advance wastewater treatment technologies and knowledge that will lead to cleaner water, a better protected ecosystem and improved public health. The $38.5 million wastewater facility is a fully-integrated university research facility located within an operating industrial wastewater treatment plant.

Cambridge U Studies Plant-Powered Bus Shelter

(U.K.): The prototype hub at the university's botanical garden has walls of plants in pockets made of carbon fiber that receive electrons, produced as a byproduct of photosynthesis, that power a light in the shelter.

Michigan State U Bolsters Campus Sustainability Research

(U.S.): The new Sustainability Fellows Program funds research projects that investigate topics in energy, waste, water and campus member engagement for the purpose of creating a positive impact on the university's sustainability goals, build the university's reputation as a sustainable campus community, and to develop a greater connection between the sustainability department, campus operations, and academic units.

Florida Gulf Coast U to Construct Renewable Energy Research Park

The proposed 240-acre research park focusing on environmental sustainability will focus on technologies that impact the use of solar and other renewable sources, structures that combine renewable energy with electric transportation, energy storage, solar desalination of brackish water, anaerobic digestion of food waste on farms, and shade tolerant plants that can grow under solar panels.

Clemson U Researches Biowaste Heat for Campus Greenhouses

(U.S.): The research project is using cafeteria waste, normally designated landfill material, to help heat the university's Student Organic Farm greenhouses by combining the waste with wood mulch to produce heated water.

Eight U California System Schools Collaborate to Research Climate

(U.S.): The state's university system has allocated $1.9 million in funding over four years to Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, Merced, Riverside, San Diego and Santa Barbara for a coordinated approach to studying climate impacts in diverse natural and human-dominated ecosystems. Scientists from the nine campuses will form an institute, develop a strategy to synthesize climate research in a common framework, assess climate change models for California, and extend collaborative research across the school system.

Energy Dept Reveals 2016 Collegiate Wind Competition Participants

(U.S.): The U.S. Department of Energy's 2016 Collegiate Wind Competition challenges teams of undergraduate students to design and build a model wind turbine based on market research and siting considerations, develop a business plan to market their products, and test their turbines against a set of rigorous performance criteria. The twelve teams participating in the competition are Boise State University, The California Maritime Academy, California State University, Chico, Kansas State University, Northern Arizona University, The Pennsylvania State University, Universidad del Turabo (Puerto Rico), University of Alaska Fairbanks, University of Maryland, University of Massachusetts Amherst, University of Massachusetts Lowell and University of Wisconsin Madison.

U California Berkeley Establishes Chair in Sustainability

(U.S.): The recently established James and Katherine Lau Distinguished Chair in Sustainability will support work that spans the areas of environment and climate, energy supply and demand, and policy and markets. It will be held by the director of the Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute and will advance development of scalable solutions for our planet.

Antioch U New England Announces Peace Corps Partnership

Following a model of engaged scholarship, the recently launched program allows students conducting Department of Environmental Studies doctoral work to complete advanced graduate work during their Peace Corps service. The program consists of two years of doctoral courses and 27 months in the Peace Corps while students conduct doctoral research.

Loyola U Chicago Student Extends Growing Season on Campus Grounds

A now senior student enrolled in the university's Solutions to Environmental Problems class uses the campus' outdoor urban agricultural spaces to research ways to extend the growing season into winter in hopes of providing easy and affordable methods people can use to grow fresh produce at home.

Emory U Studies Sustainability Network

Beginning in fall of 2014, the university's Graduate Sustainability Group conducted an analysis of involvement of graduate students in sustainability by making visible the connections between individuals and groups, and are evaluating how these relationships and interactions function.

Monash U Fellow Receives United Nations Award

(Australia): Sir Bob Watson, the university's Monash Sustainability Institute Sir Louis Matheson Fellow, has received a United Nations Champions of the Earth award for his services to science and innovation by promoting the science behind ozone depletion, global warming and the impacts of biodiversity loss. The award, which is the United Nations highest environmental accolade, is awarded to those whose service to the environment is saving lives, improving livelihoods and bettering environmental governance and conservation.

U Hawai'i Research Center Adds Renewable Energy Focus

A new contract modification between the U.S. Navy and the university allows for basic and applied research and engineering, modeling and simulation, and test and evaluation of technologies for the efficient and cost-effective development, use and integration of renewable energy resources to address National Security needs and issues.

Lakehead U Establishes New Research Center

(Canada): The newly created Research Center for Sustainable Communities is focused on interdisciplinary research in the areas of social justice, political economy and environmental sustainability.

Appalachian State U Holds Research Forum

The university's first Sustainability Research Forum, designed to encourage faculty to attend with their classes, highlighted graywater reclamation and remediation at a local haircare salon, coal challenges in Appalachia and Welch communities, and a case study on agroecotourism in Cuba.

U South Carolina Holds Inaugural Sustainability Research Showcase

(U.S.): A recent display of students, faculty, staff and community members' sustainability-focused research via posters, presentations and interactive demonstrations allowed 74 percent of visitors to realize how sustainability relates to their major.

MacEwan U Releases Student Research Journal

The student-driven and managed Earth Common Journal recently featured peer-reviewed undergraduate research papers that focus on everyday activism including perceptions of organics and the sustainability of hip hop culture.

Portland State U Studies Air Quality

Researchers recently found that an increase in urban forests led to a reduction in the amount of nitrogen dioxide, an air pollutant that can cause asthma, which can save approximately $6.5 million per year by avoiding missed school and work days, emergency room visits and hospitalizations.

U.S. Department of Energy Boosts Clean Energy Research

In an effort to reduce dependence on foreign oil and transition to a clean energy economy, the Energy Department recently announced an approximate investment of $55 million for 31 new projects to accelerate research and development of critical vehicle technologies that will improve fuel efficiency and reduce costs. Approximately seven institutions will benefit from this.

East Kent College Opens Center for Environmental Technologies

(U.K.): The newly opened research center provides an opportunity for students to gain skills in the renewable energy, engineering and construction sectors. The building containing the center features electrical and mechanical systems on display to cross-pollinate with curriculum, solar electric and solar thermal technology, rainwater harvesting to flush toilets, and equipment to measure both energy generated and used. The building earned Excellent by the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM).

South Gloucestershire and Stroud College Awarded New Campus Funds

(U.K.): The college's Gloucestershire Renewable Energy, Engineering and Nuclear project has been awarded five million pounds ($8.5 million) from the government for the first phase of the new campus, which will focus on engineering and technology with an emphasis on low-carbon energy generation.

U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Announces Research Funding Recipients

The university's Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment awarded a combined $540,000 to three interdisciplinary research projects: a water disinfection system, an approach to agriculture that involves woody plants as an alternative to conventional crops, and the development of stoves that use stored solar energy.

Four Universities Test Electric Mini Vehicles

Colorado State University, University of Pittsburgh, University of Washington and University of Wisconsin will receive four electric micro-vehicles to research the reduction of campus carbon emissions and foster research using sensor data. At the conclusion of the projects, all aggregated data will become anonymous and publicly available for any researcher.

Medical U South Carolina Claims Resource Award

The university recently won the 2014 Online Resource Award from the Archivists and Librarians in the History of the Health Sciences for its online exhibit of the medicinal garden.