Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 75.90
Liaison Deborah Steinberg
Submission Date Dec. 6, 2021

STARS v2.2

Carnegie Mellon University
AC-10: Support for Sustainability Research

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Abigail Owen
Assistant Teaching Professor
History Dept & Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education and Research
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Does the institution have an ongoing program to encourage students in multiple disciplines or academic programs to conduct sustainability research?:
Yes

A brief description of the student sustainability research program:
Carnegie Mellon’s Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education and Research encourages student sustainability research through a variety of programs, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Undergraduate research is supported and advanced through research funding available from the Carnegie Mellon undergraduate research office by engaging students in campus greening projects that relate to their academic work and research and support of student projects through the Steinbrenner Institute SEED grant program. https://www.cmu.edu/uro/ The Steinbrenner Institute staff also serve as judges for the Environmental Research Award at the annual Undergraduate Research Symposium, or the "Meeting of the Minds." Each year in May, this a university-wide celebration of undergraduate research. All Carnegie Mellon undergrads engaged in research and creative projects are encouraged to apply. In 2019 there was a first prize award winner and two runners up for the Environmental Research Award. https://www.cmu.edu/uro/MoM/competitions.html Graduate research in sustainability is supported by the Steinbrenner Institute graduate fellowship program which provides support for three or four Ph.D. students each year. Support is also provided through special fellowship programs such as the U.S. Environmental Sustainability Fellowship. https://www.cmu.edu/steinbrenner/

Does the institution have a program to encourage academic staff from multiple disciplines or academic programs to conduct sustainability research?:
Yes

A brief description of the faculty sustainability research program:
The Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation offers Seed Grants for Energy Research. The annual funding program, supports the development of new research in areas such as energy sources, production, efficiency and environmental impacts. The awards allow Carnegie Mellon professors to jump-start their cutting-edge work, and provide valuable funding to increase readiness for substantial external consideration and funding. In 2020, the Institute awarded almost half a million dollars to nine faculty-led projects. https://www.cmu.edu/energy/research-innovation/seed-grants.html The Scott Institute Energy Fellows Program incentivizes, promotes, and rewards Carnegie Mellon University's most dedicated tenure track energy faculty. There are three levels of fellows: director emeritus, senior fellows and fellows. Each fellow receives funding, resources and membership in the Scott Institute Fellow Council. https://www.cmu.edu/energy/people/faculty-fellows.html The Steinbrenner Institute was formed as a campus-wide organization to facilitate, promote, and advance Carnegie Mellon education, research initiatives and campus operational practices related to the environment and sustainability. Recent innovations developed by CMU researchers funded by Steinbrenner grants include: measurement and modeling of fine air particles, real-time sensing in drinking water supply networks, treatment of groundwater contaminants with engineered nanoparticles; optimization of environmental controls for clean coal technologies; catalysts for more environmentally benign paper-making and industrial cleaning and energy-efficient commercial buildings. In addition to leading-edge research, the Steinbrenner Institute offers competitive fellowships to talented graduate students, issues developmental grants to researchers, promotes and supports environmental initiatives throughout the CMU campus and fosters connections and coordinates new research initiatives. The Steinbrenner Institute also has a SEED grant program to support proposal development, workshops, and equipment acquisition or other support for environmental sustainability research efforts. The Steinbrenner Institute also encourages faculty research in sustainability by hosting periodic events with media to inform faculty about emerging environmental topics, and to provide faculty members with opportunities to engage media representatives about their environmental research. https://www.cmu.edu/steinbrenner

Has the institution published written policies and procedures that give positive recognition to interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary research during faculty promotion and/or tenure decisions?:
Yes

A copy of the promotion or tenure guidelines or policies:
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The promotion or tenure guidelines or policies:
Carnegie Mellon University’s strategic plan for 2025 specifically highlights the importance of supporting and promoting interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary encounters and collaborations for tenure decisions, and for research, teaching, and social impact. Two goals focus on these ideas: A Culture of Interdisciplinary Approaches to Problem-Solving and An Interconnected Network for Research and Creativity. These goals are supported by specific strategic recommendations to support interdisciplinary research. https://www.cmu.edu/strategic-plan/strategic-recommendations/foundational-research-and-creativity.html https://www.cmu.edu/strategic-plan/strategic-recommendations/catalyzing-interdisciplinary-encounters.html

Does the institution have ongoing library support for sustainability research and learning?:
Yes

A brief description of the institution’s library support for sustainability research:
The Libraries offers expert consulting to all faculty, staff, and students. Departments have a librarian assigned to them who are information specialists with extensive knowledge of disciplinary information sources and methods who can help with everything from a first-year assignment to dissertation work and grant-funded research projects. For example, Julie Chen is the Library Liaison to Civil and Environmental Engineering, Engineering and Public Policy, and Mechanical Engineering and a courtesy faculty in Civil and Environmental Engineering. Julie received both her M.S. and Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. Her research interests are environmental life cycle assessment, uncertainty estimation, and data analysis. The library provides a wide collection of scholarly information resources to support all aspects of sustainability, as well as workflow solutions to facilitate open science, data curation, and impact assessment. Research guides are also available. These are curated resources across disciplines for specific topics and course information, including sustainability topics.

Website URL where information about the institution’s support for sustainability research is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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Data source(s) and notes about the submission:
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