Overall Rating Platinum - expired
Overall Score 88.00
Liaison Sam Lubow
Submission Date Feb. 22, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Stanford University
AC-10: Support for Research

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Moira Hafer
Sustainability Specialist
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:

The Undergraduate Interdisciplinary Research Program from the Woods Institute for the Environment provides full- and part-time student stipends to Stanford undergraduates to conduct interdisciplinary environmental research during the summer term. Faculty are welcome to apply on behalf of undergraduates at all levels and from all departments. Funding priority goes to Woods Institute fellows, lecturers and affiliated faculty. Students wishing to initiate a project will need to approach a faculty member who is willing to apply on the student's behalf. For more information, visit https://woods.stanford.edu/educating-leaders/mentoring-undergraduates-interdisciplinary-research-program-muir

Through the Stanford Earth Summer Undergraduate Research Program, undergraduate students work with faculty, post-docs, and graduate students throughout the school. Their research projects span the breadth of the four departments (Energy Resources Engineering, Earth System Science, Geophysics, and Geological Sciences), interdisciplinary programs (Earth Systems and E-IPER), and associated research institutes (Precourt Energy Efficiency Center, Woods Institute for the Environment, and the Carnegie Institute). The Summer Undergraduate Research Program in the School of Earth Sciences has been in place since 2001, and many undergraduate students have been involved over that time. For more information, visit https://pangea.stanford.edu/stanford-earth-summer-undergraduate-research-program

The Rising Environmental Leaders Program provides graduate students and postdoctoral scholars with leadership and communications skills as well as guidance on how to use those skills and their research for the greatest impact. Participants are also extended professional development opportunities including introductions to global leaders from government, NGOs, think tanks and business. A central component of the Rising Environmental Leaders Program is D.C. Boot Camp. Designed to show young scholars how research informs and advances policy, the program introduces 20 graduate scholars each year to Stanford’s robust alumni network and a diverse, high-level slate of legislative, media, agency and non-profit professionals working on issues related to the environment. For more information, visit https://woods.stanford.edu/educating-leaders/education-leadership-programs/rising-environmental-leaders-program and https://woods.stanford.edu/news/future-environmental-leaders-go-inside-beltway-spring-break

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:

The Ward W. and Priscilla B. Woods Institute for the Environment harnesses the expertise and imagination of leading academics and decision-makers to create practical solutions for people and the planet. The Institute played a critical role in Stanford’s Initiative on the Environment and Sustainability, and is one of just a few campus Institutes with the ability to appoint faculty Fellows. Faculty interested in conducting sustainability research can become Fellows at the Woods Institute either in addition to departmental status or as an exclusive appointment. Visit: http://woods.stanford.edu/

In addition, the Woods Institute manages a special research grant program for sustainability projects. Environmental Venture Projects (EVP) are seed grants awarded annually to Stanford faculty for innovative research that focuses on finding solutions to key environmental and sustainability challenges, such as protecting endangered species in California or delivering clean drinking water in Africa. To catalyze transformative environmental and sustainability research around the world, the Stanford Woods Institute has awarded millions of dollars in EVP seed grants to interdisciplinary faculty research teams from all seven of Stanford’s schools and 34 of its departments. For more information, please visit:

In addition, more than 200 Stanford faculty members and their students, postdocs and technicians are engaged in the six key areas of energy research deemed priorities by the Precourt Institute for Energy: Renewable Energy, Fossil & Nuclear Energy, Energy Storage & Grid Modernization, End/Use Efficiency, Environmental Impacts, and Policy & Economics. Faculty seed grants are awarded for research proposals in these areas with a strong potential for high impact on energy supply and use. These “proof of concept” awards bridge theory to early experiments and analyses. Seed grants are awarded each year by the Precourt Institute for Energy (PIE), the Precourt Energy Efficiency Center (PEEC), the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy and the Natural Gas Initiative. The Global Climate and Energy Project (GCEP) also provides funding for exploratory research. The Bay Area Photovoltaic Consortium (BAPVC) awards grants for research that will reduce the cost of utility-scale solar modules.

For more information, please visit: https://energy.stanford.edu/research/seed-grants

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:

Stanford places a strong emphasis on multidisciplinary work by its faculty. Multidisciplinary research is one of the central themes of the Stanford Challenge, a university-wide program introduced in 2006 to tackle the most pressing global challenges of the next century. Through the Stanford Challenge, hundreds of millions of dollars were raised to support multidisciplinary research, with funds going towards Professorships and Faculty Support, Programmatic and Research Support, and new multidisciplinary facilities. More than 100 new faculty positions and more than 300 new graduate fellowships were endowed.

For more information on multidisciplinary research and the success of the Stanford Challenge, please visit:
Since 1990, Stanford has allowed selected Interdisciplinary Institutes on campus to make their own faculty appointments and promotions. The university states, “while reaffirming the value of coupling academic appointments in policy centers and institutes to faculty appointments in existing academic departments, it was recognized that interdisciplinary policy centers may have needs not met by regular professorial appointments in existing departments.” These Interdisciplinary Institutes include the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, the Precourt Institute for Energy at Stanford, the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, and the Woods Institute for the Environment. Each of these institutes can appoint Senior Fellows and Center Fellows, both of which are members of the Academic Council, regardless of any other appointments. These fellows can be faculty in their own department or can be completely appointed by that institute, giving institutes the freedom to promote anyone without university restrictions.

The faculty handbook articulates how departments and institutes should carry out appointment and promotion processes that give a fair review and evaluation of interdisciplinary faculty. Relevant excerpts from the faculty handbook can be found at the links below.

Relevant excerpts from the Faculty Handbook include:
For example, within the School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences, faculty policies emphasize the importance of giving at least equal weight to multi-authored and interdisciplinary research and teaching efforts, compared with more traditional disciplinary approaches (including those that are single-authored). The School also provides incentive funds for interdisciplinary research.

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 library collections include a number of databases and resources with a sustainability focus. Examples include:

BUILDING GREEN [electronic resource]
Imprint: Brattleboro, VT: BuildingGreen
Creators/Contributors: BuildingGreen, Inc.
Summary: Database to help building-industry professionals design and build construction projects that minimize ecological impact and maximize economic performance. Includes access to Environmental building news articles, lists for GreenSpec products and specification guidelines, and detailed project case studies of high-performance buildings.

Contributor: University of New Mexico, publisher.
Summary: Data Observation Network for Earth (DataONE) is the foundation of new innovative environmental science through a distributed framework and sustainable cyberinfrastructure that meets the needs of science and society for open, persistent, robust, and secure access to well-described and easily discovered Earth observational data. Supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation (Phase 1 Grant #ACI-0830944, Phase 2 Grant #ACI-1430508) as one of the initial DataNets, DataONE will ensure the preservation, access, use and reuse of multi-scale, multi-discipline, and multi-national science data via three primary cyberinfrastucture elements and a broad education and outreach program. Includes also DataONE: Best Practices and the data search interface ONEMercury.

GREENFILE [electronic resource]
Contributor: EBSCO Industries
Summary: GreenFILE offers well-researched but accessible information covering all aspects of human impact on the environment. Its collection of scholarly, government and general-interest titles include content on the environmental effects of individuals, corporations and local/national governments, and what can be done on each level to minimize negative impact. Topics covered include global warming, green building, pollution, sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, recycling, and more. GreenFILE is multidisciplinary by nature and draws on the connections between the environment and a variety of disciplines such as agriculture, education, law, health and technology.

Librarians also regularly support specific sustainability classes and research, including the following examples:

Program in Writing and Rhetoric (PWR): "Sustainable Energy for 9 Billion"
Earth Systems 200: “Sustaining Action: Research, Analysis and Writing for the Public (SAGE)”

PWR 1: “Writing Nature: Discourses in Ecology, Culture, and Technology”
PWR 1: “Staying Cool on a Hot Planet: Environmental Rhetoric for a Changing World”
Librarians also develop research guides to assist researchers in sustainability fields:
Finally, the libraries maintain collections and occasionally host presentations with sustainability themes. For instance, the libraries recently hosted an exhibit of a recently acquired collection of the works of Helen and Newton Harrison, who are known as eco-artists: https://exhibits.stanford.edu/harrison
The libraries also hosted this presentation by Martin McDonough:

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:

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