Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 72.32
Liaison Merry Rankin
Submission Date Aug. 29, 2022

STARS v2.2

Iowa State University
AC-10: Support for Sustainability Research

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Jerry Zamzow
Assistant Vice President for Research
Office of the Vice President for Research
"---" 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 sustainability research?:

A brief description of the student sustainability research program:

Iowa State hosts several Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) each summer to provide students with hands-on experience. Students from around the country apply to conduct research on the Iowa State campus in 8-12 various areas of study.

To support sustainability research, the ASTRO Seed Grants, small financial grants to catalyze and support novel agrivoltaics research, expanding the potential economic, social, agricultural, and environmental benefits of agrivoltaics to more people and places are offered toward:
• Providing research and learning opportunities to early-career professionals as well as emerging, first time, and junior researchers including undergraduate, graduate, and advanced high school students playing a supporting role on projects. Combining PV solar with other uses and functions creates opportunities to benefit more people from a diverse set of background and skillsets. We welcome applicants from under-resourced and/or historically marginalized communities.
• Addressing timely issues that require response with research that can be completed and reported on within 6-9 months. Projects need not require full-time effort (e.g. summer internship), and may also be completed in conjunction with unrelated studies or work.
• Studying approaches and outputs that will advance the field of agrivoltaic research and deployment.

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

A brief description of the faculty sustainability research program:

The Office of the Vice President for Research offers the Presidential Interdisciplinary Research Initiative (PIRI) program that provides up to $750,000 over three years to interdisciplinary research teams to help solve vexing problems. An expectation is that proposals connect to the Vice President for Research Grand Challenge Themes. These themes are closely linked to sustainability and are priorities for our institution. The C-Change program is an example of a PIRI award that has had much success and direct connection to sustainability. This effort has garnered over $20M in external funding, and its lead investigator, Dr. Lisa Schulte-Moore, was recently named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow for this work. Additionally, Iowa State University has successfully lobbied the state government to provide funding for the Bioscience Platforms. Three of the four platforms are situated at Iowa State. These platforms represent additional research thrusts that are related to sustainability. Grant funding from each program is available to the research community to help meet the goals of the platforms. Additionally, Iowa State provides cost-share for many grants and contracts that focus on sustainability and the environment, such as carbon capture, NRT-INFEWS, Iowa Water Center, nutrient reduction research, etc.

Iowa State University is jump-starting its strategic plan with a $10.5 million dollar investment in nine projects, including $500,000 to build and provide seed funding for new interdisciplinary faculty research teams in areas where Iowa State has a competitive advantage, for example, water management, carbon sequestration, advanced materials and cyber.

Since 2019, 10 faculty learning communities (FLCs) have been introduced across campus. Although the FLCs are administered by the Center for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities, they are open to faculty members of all disciplines and departments and share a common goal of bringing together faculty with different backgrounds and expertise to facilitate interdisciplinary research. At their inception, the first 5 FLCs each received $1,000 in seed funding to further develop their outreach beginning Fall 2019, and 5 FLCs have begun work since then.

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?:

A copy of the promotion or tenure guidelines or policies:

The promotion or tenure guidelines or policies:

Section of the Faculty Handbook states that “Scholarship often requires teamwork and other collaborative relationships, particularly because of the growth of interdisciplinary and collaborative programs. When work that is a result of joint effort is present as evidence of scholarship, clarification of the candidate’s role in the joint effort must be provided.” Through this statement, the promotion and tenure guidelines of the Faculty Handbook recognize of this type of research is acknowledged and recognized as a valid and important part of a faculty member’s promotion dossier.

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

A brief description of the institution’s library support for sustainability research:

The ISU Library has a dedicated fund for the purchase and acquisition of sustainability-related research and learning materials. The Environment Librarian covers the topic of sustainability, provides in-class and online teaching support, and maintains two research guides: 1) Environmental Science and Studies Research Guide and 2) Environmental Justice and Environmental Racism Research Guide. The latter guide was released in early 2020 and saw significant growth in usage in 2021.

Website URL where information about the institution’s support for sustainability research is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

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