Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 65.52
Liaison Andrew D'Amico
Submission Date Feb. 28, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Princeton University
AC-10: Support for Research

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Shana Weber
Office of Sustainability
"---" 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? :

A brief description of the student research program, including the incentives provided and any positive outcomes during the previous three years:
Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI) – Undergraduate-level
PEI Faculty and associated faculty represent a community of scholars and dedicated educators who encourage and mentor students to pursue rigorous environmental study and research. Entry level and upper level courses comprising the Environmental Studies course of study incorporate a “Real World Model” as part of a laboratory curriculum that uses the campus and local community as laboratories for scientific study of environment and sustainability topics. Also, field research is an important component of multiple entry level and upper level ENV courses and seminars with course-related field work in destinations including Kenya, Bermuda, and Panama.

Princeton undergraduates also have the opportunity to complement their academic coursework with hands-on, engaging, independent research, and project experiences during the summer months. Students interested in exploring and expanding their knowledge of complex global environmental problems related to energy and climate, sustainable development in Africa, infectious disease and global health, and environmental sustainability may apply to one of 90-plus established internships with faculty on research projects or with select mentored projects with NGOs, academic, policy, or industry enterprises.

Princeton undergraduates may also request funding to support self-initiated projects involving environment or sustainability themes with connections to their academic course of study and a suitable mentor clearly identified. Such experiences frequently guide the selection of independent research projects in the senior year – a requirement of the undergraduate experience at Princeton. Princeton undergraduates may apply for support of travel, research, and supplies for field research on environmental or sustainability topics related to their senior independent projects. A few recent field research projects include, “Characterizing a Potential Arsenic Drinking Water Contamination in Antiquity: Uncovering the Source of Elevated Arsenic Levels in Classic Maya Ceramics and Remains” by Casey Ivanovich ’17 and “Diversity of Birds in Managed Burn Areas, Forest Fire Areas, and Non-burned Areas at Identical Elevation Levels in Rocky Mountain National Park” by Luke Brugger ’16.

Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment – Undergraduate-level
Every year, the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment invites undergraduates to apply for paid summer internships and externships. Funding is provided for research projects performed under the direction of faculty doing research in areas related to the center’s mission of finding solutions to secure our energy and environmental future. These internships are funded by the Peter B. Lewis Fund for Student Innovation in Energy and the Environment and the Dede T. Bartlett P03 Fund for Student Research in Energy and the Environment. If selected, students receive a $4,000 stipend for eight weeks of summer research and up to $4,000 for research related expenses.

Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI) – Graduate-level
The Princeton Energy and Climate Scholars (PECS) involves Ph.D. candidates from a wide range of departments including Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Economics, Geosciences, and from the School of Engineering and the Woodrow Wilson School. Launched in 2008 with support of the Seibel Energy Challenge, PECS enhances the research experience of Princeton’s graduate students involved in climate and energy research and encourages the most talented of these students to transcend the boundaries of their fields by fostering a sense of common intellectual adventure. Students are selected by competitive application to participate in the PECS Program, receive a modest research stipend, meet bi-monthly as a group and with an interdisciplinary faculty board of advisors.

The central component of PEI's graduate program is the Program in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy (PEI-STEP), offered in affiliation with the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. This two-year program enables participating students to explore the environmental policy dimensions of their doctoral research. Students who complete the requirements of the PEI-STEP fellowship program are awarded a Graduate Certificate in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in addition to receiving a degree from the department in which the student is enrolled. Since 2000, the program has supported over 50 PEI-STEP Fellows, many of whom have gone to pursue positions of environmental leadership in academic, government, non-profit, and industry sectors following their time at Princeton.

The PEI Walbridge Fund Award, initiated in 2009, provides 2-3 awards annually in amounts up to $10,000 to Princeton graduate students pursuing innovative projects on energy, climate change science, modeling, and policy, or closely related topics. Projects hailing from a broad range of disciplines are eligible for consideration. Funds may be used for a range of purposes, including fieldwork support, travel, conference participation, the purchase of equipment, and costs associated with data analysis and facilities use. A competitive application process is held annually with awards determined by a Faculty Selection Committee.

The Mary and Randall Hack '69 Award provides research funding to support Princeton University graduate students pursuing innovative research on water and water-related topics with implications for the environment. Projects hailing from a broad range of disciplines are eligible for consideration including climate science, engineering, and environmental policy.

Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment – Graduate-level
The Paul A. Maeder ’75 Fund for Innovation in Energy and the Environment supports the Maeder Graduate Fellowship in Energy and the Environment. Each year, faculty members nominate the very best post-generals, non-DCE graduate students performing research related to energy and/or the environment as impacted by energy. The student may be enrolled in any Ph.D. program on campus and nominations from departments outside of engineering are encouraged.

Office of Sustainability
Lastly, the High Meadows Foundation Sustainability Fund provides grants for student sustainability research projects that use the campus as a laboratory to cultivate a sustainability ethos on campus, in service to the world. It has funded several projects between 2014-2017, including the Princeton Vertical Farming Project.

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

A brief description of the faculty research program, including the incentives provided and any positive outcomes during the previous three years:
Through its Grand Challenges Program, Princeton promotes cutting-edge interdisciplinary research on energy, health, and development themes. Research funding is awarded and carried out locally and around the world with the engagement of a broad cross-section of the University community to explore the scientific, technical, public policy, and human dimensions of global environmental problems. Research from the Grand Challenges program has focused on a multitude of issues, including, climate syndromes, the Sargasso sea, ecosystem spatial patterns, climate change and agriculture, health as an ecosystem service, potable water, and many more.

The High Meadows Foundation Sustainability Fund requests proposals for initiatives with measurable outcomes that will contribute to cultivating a sustainability ethos on campus, in service to the world. It has funded several projects between 2014-2017, including the Princeton Vertical Farming Project.

The Campus as Lab Innovation Fund is a new program through the Office of Dean for Research that supports bold new ideas that involve the use of the campus as a laboratory for scientific, engineering, humanistic, artistic or social science research on sustainability, energy and the environment. Faculty from all four divisions may propose up to two research projects, one for undergraduate student research and another for graduate student or postdoctoral research. One-year projects involving undergraduate students can receive up to $15,000 for research. One-year projects for graduate students or postdoctoral researchers can receive up to $150,000 for research.

Professor Sigrid Adriaenssens is leading a Campus as Lab Innovation Fund project to test the suitability of "rammed earth" construction, which involves tightly packing soil into frames to build walls and other structures. Under Adriaenssens' guidance, students have built a curved wall on the Princeton's campus. The team is evaluating the ideal curvature of the walls, while designing and testing erosion protection systems such as overhangs, dripping stones and coating with lime. The students will monitor the durability of the structures over the next year to determine the potential for soil as a building material in a humid climate such as Princeton’s.

The Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment supports the Princeton E-ffiliates Partnership which catalyzes and seeds projects that bring Princeton University’s research strengths to bear on problems in the energy and environmental sectors. Princeton E-ffiliates Partnership invites teams of researchers to apply for project funding for research in energy and the environment, emphasizing energy efficiency, utility of the future, carbon capture and storage, sustainable manufacturing and chemical synthesis, or the future of nuclear power.

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 brief description of the institution’s support for interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary research, including any positive outcomes during the previous three years:
The University does not have written language that explicitly gives positive recognition to interdisciplinary research in promotion or tenure decisions. However, in the Rules and Procedures of the Faculty, the University makes it clear that faculty with joint appointments need to be reviewed by both units in reappointment and promotion procedures. Additionally, interdisciplinary work may still be valued and considered in reappointment and promotion decisions for all other faculty, even if not explicitly stated in the Rules and Procedures.

The “Urban Tap Water and Human Health” project under the Grand Challenges program is an example of multi-disciplinary research at the University. John Higgins, a Princeton assistant professor of geosciences and Janet Currie, Princeton’s Henry Putnam Professor of Economics and Public Affairs are currently exploring links between urban water quality and human health. Higgins and students in his laboratory will analyze the water samples for levels of 17 elements, including lead. Currie, who is director of the University's Center for Health and Wellbeing, will use national census data to identify neighborhoods at risk for lead contamination based on housing-stock age and poverty. Currie also will work with the Trenton-based non-profit Isles Inc. to access state data so that she can explore the possible link between lead levels in children's blood and special education.

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

A brief description of the institution’s library support for sustainability research, including any positive outcomes during the previous three years:
The University Library offers various support for sustainability research in the form of dedicated librarians to related subject areas and subscription access to a variety of resources. The University subscribes to a number of databases that provide access to articles on a range of sustainability topics. Examples include the Sustainability Science Abstracts and GREENR (Global Reference on the Environment, Energy, and Natural Resource) databases. The Environmental Studies in Video resource Includes films covering all realms of environmental studies, particularly ethics, policy, economics, law, sociology, planning, and environmental science. It addresses specific topics including alternative energy, pollution control, eco-design, sustainability, farming and agriculture, the food industry, LEED certification, waste issues, and climate change. Classroom support in the use of library materials on sustainability is available upon request.

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

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:
Additional links:
PEI Undergraduate Internship Program: https://environment.princeton.edu/undergrads/internships/
PEI-STEP Graduate Program: https://environment.princeton.edu/grads/step/
The PEI Walbridge Fund Award: https://environment.princeton.edu/grads/fellowships-awards/walbridge/
The Mary and Randall Hack '69 Award: https://environment.princeton.edu/grads/fellowships-awards/hack-graduate-award/
Grand Challenges Research: https://environment.princeton.edu/grandchallenges/research
The High Meadows Foundation Sustainability Fund: http://sustain.princeton.edu/lead/funding
Campus as Lab Innovation Fund: http://research.princeton.edu/dean/funding/deans-innovation-funds/
Andlinger Center Student Funding: seehttp://acee.princeton.edu/education/student-funding-for-research/
ACEE: Princeton E-ffiliates Partnership RFP: https://e-ffiliates-acee.princeton.edu/research/
Princeton University Library: http://library.princeton.edu/

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