Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 73.84
Liaison Careen Arsenault
Submission Date Feb. 27, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Cornell University
AC-10: Support for Research

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Mark Lawrence
Communications Mgr
ACSF
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have an ongoing program to encourage students in multiple disciplines or academic programs to conduct research in sustainability? :
Yes

A brief description of the student research program, including the incentives provided and any positive outcomes during the previous three years:

Cornell's Sustainable Biodiversity Fund supports Cornell graduate / professional students and postdocs to carry out novel research on the most pressing questions in biodiversity through grants of up to $7,000 (http://www.atkinson.cornell.edu/grants/acsf-sbf/index.php). Notable positive outcomes from the last three years include the study of microbial biodiversity in soil impacts goldenrod’s resistance to insect attacks, and the study of environmental governance, deliberative valuation methods, and collaborative policy design on the realistic and humane design of economic instruments for conservation.

Cornell's College of Engineering provides support for sustainability research through the Research Administration Service Center (https://systemseng.cornell.edu/research/RASC/index.cfm). Support services include Providing administrative support during the proposal development process, delivering orientation to new faculty regarding pre-award services and funding opportunities, Identifying and disseminating funding opportunities to all faculty, providing full support for complex research center proposals, e.g. coordinates meetings, connects researchers with resources for educational outreach, diversity, economic development, graphics, editing, etc, and making available to researcher’s templates and examples of successful proposals.
Sustainability outcomes are incorporated in the College of Engineering’s Mission, so many research projects supported by the College of Engineering’s programs are sustainability related including The Cornell Energy Institute’s research, which focuses on renewable energy research. (http://energyinstitute.engineering.cornell.edu/research)

Cornell's Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future collaborates with numerous organizations including CARE, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Nature Conservancy, Oxfam, and the Smithsonian to conduct sustainability research, much of which is done by undergraduate and graduate students. Research grants may be awarded for as much as $100,000 (https://www.atkinson.cornell.edu/collaborations/index.php). There are numerous positive outcomes from these collaborations including increasing corn production while reducing fertilizer pollution, locating and quantifying methane emissions with a Google Streetview car, and protecting fish and fishermen in Myanmar.


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

A brief description of the faculty research program, including the incentives provided and any positive outcomes during the previous three years:

Since 2008, the Atkinson Center's Academic Venture Fund (AVF) has been the signature program for sustainability-related research within Cornell. The fund stimulates cross-disciplinary research in sustainability research at Cornell and promotes activities with the potential to attract external partners in industry, government, NGOs, and foundations. The AVF provides over $1.5 million in funding annually and provided $1.8 million in 2017. The fund typically supports 10-15 projects a year across a range of energy, environment, and economic development concerns and supported 14 projects in 2017. Some positive outcomes include a new chemical synthesis process--recently discovered in Song Lin's lab--that converts cheap, abundant natural resources like carbon dioxide into pharmaceuticals in a single operation to produce cleaner, greener pharmaceuticals. Another positive outcome was research into a sustainable yield of Columbian Cos. The project will identify risk factors for metabolic diseases that limit milk production during early lactation, develop farm management strategies, and introduce new technologies for disease control. (http://www.atkinson.cornell.edu/grants/avf/).

A second grants program, the Rapid Response Fund, awards funding to smaller, time-sensitive projects on a quarterly basis. Awards usually do not exceed $20,000. Positive outcomes include tracking moose parasite infections and mapping deer population density to identify deer management strategies to protect vital habitats for the Adirondacks' moose and analyzing the effect of personal relevance on people's willingness to take action against climate change. (http://www.atkinson.cornell.edu/grants/rrf.php).

The Atkinson Center's Faculty Fellowship for Social Sciences, Humanities, and the Arts supports Cornell faculty in the social sciences, humanities, and arts who are working in the sustainability arena with research grants of up to $5,000. Positive outcomes include studying the motivating roles of humor and anger in promoting climate change action and develop messages that use emotion to increase political engagement
(http://www.atkinson.cornell.edu/grants/facinres/index.php).


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 brief description of the institution’s support for interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary research, including any positive outcomes during the previous three years:

Cornell University has a large number of multidisciplinary centers (including the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future), so multidisciplinary research is highly valued and often considered as a strong supportive activity in cases of faculty tenure and promotion.

As mentioned above, The Atkinson Center's Faculty Fellowship for Social Sciences, Humanities, and the Arts supports Cornell faculty in the social sciences, humanities, and arts who are working in the sustainability arena with research grants of up to $5,000. Positive outcomes include studying the motivating roles of humor and anger in promoting climate change action and develop messages that use emotion to increase political engagement (http://www.atkinson.cornell.edu/grants/facinres/index.php).

Additionally, the Atkinson Center's Academic Venture Fund (AVF) stimulates cross-disciplinary research in sustainability research at Cornell and promotes activities with the potential to attract external partners in industry, government, NGOs, and foundations. The AVF provides over $1.5 million in funding annually. The fund typically supports 10-15 projects a year across a range of energy, environment, and economic development concerns and supported 12 projects in 2018.
One example is “Doing More with Less: Sustainable Livestock and Wildlife Management”, which has the following description: The Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan support a fragile ecosystem of limited resources that is increasingly at risk due to unsustainable numbers of livestock. Wild ungulates, in particular, are threatened by grazing competition and disease, which also impact the endangered snow leopards that hunt them. This project aims to develop a self-sustaining veterinary support system that will help Pamiri communities achieve the same or greater productivity from maintaining smaller, healthier livestock herds, with a reduced environmental footprint. (http://www.atkinson.cornell.edu/grants/avf/).


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, including any positive outcomes during the previous three years:

The Cornell University Library system offers Library Guides for assisting with research in many departments, including Environment and Natural Resources (see the following link for a list of departments and sample guides: http://guides.library.cornell.edu/lghome).


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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