Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 73.84
Liaison Andrew Horning
Submission Date Dec. 19, 2022

STARS v2.2

University of Michigan
AC-10: Support for Sustainability Research

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Andrew Horning
Managing Director
Graham Sustainability Institute
"---" 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:

The Graham Sustainability Institute supports undergraduate and graduate programs for up to 85 students that participate in experiential sustainability research annually. The Dow Sustainability Fellows and the Graham Sustainability Scholars Programs support students committed to interdisciplinary and actionable sustainability solutions. These programs prepare future sustainability leaders to make a positive difference locally-globally. The Fellows and Scholars programs and related sustainability projects promote an interdisciplinary team-based approach. Students work in partnership with clients (many nonprofit organizations without the resources to support research efforts). Scholars and Fellows projects focus on water, energy equity, public health, circularity, climate change, and public policy. These programs comprise students who thrive on collaboration, learn to effectively manage complex projects, experience diverse perspectives, and implement projects with significant potential for impact. Positive Outcomes: Graduate students from 17 of the 19 university schools and colleges participate in the Dow Fellows Program. And undergraduate students from 10 of the 19 schools and colleges participate in the Graham Scholars Program. Fellows and Scholars are inspired to reach across disciplinary boundaries and incorporate respectful engagement methods as they pursue their passion for making the world more sustainable. Project reports are published by the Graham Institute and are available to the public.

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 Graham Sustainability Institute catalyst grant program (http://graham.umich.edu/catalyst) was launched in 2017 to support small-scale, collaborative, interdisciplinary sustainability research. Grants are offered in the fall and/or spring, are open to all faculty and researchers across U-M’s three campuses, and provide $10,000 and additional facilitation, communications, and event support. The specifics of the projects supported vary, but all projects are framed to: identify sustainable solutions and actions; bring together faculty from multiple disciplines and campus units; and engage and be responsive to the interests and needs of end-users—partners outside the university positioned to apply project outputs in real-world decision-making and practice.

Since 2019, there have been three rounds of funding, over 46 letters of interest were submitted in response to the various calls, and the program awarded $120,000 to 12 multidisciplinary project teams including 42 U-M faculty and researchers representing 10 different schools, colleges or academic units.

The Carbon Neutrality Acceleration Program (http://graham.umich.edu/carbon-neutrality) administered by the Graham Sustainability Institute offers funding and support for faculty across U-M's three campuses to pursue innovative, actionable carbon neutrality research plus special programming designed to promote connections among researchers and stakeholders. Researchers across the university are working to advance knowledge around a diversity of strategies that drive greenhouse gas emissions to zero or below, from renewable energy to carbon capture and sequestration, transportation, materials development, agriculture, data science, and more. At the same time, communities, institutions (including U-M), businesses, and governments are pursuing bold carbon reduction initiatives. The Carbon Neutrality Acceleration Program is designed to amplify U-M’s efforts, mobilizing our research community's collective power to advance a low-carbon future. All U-M faculty are eligible to apply for funding that supports carbon neutrality research with the potential to affect real change in the world. Researchers will receive the support they need to maximize the impact of their work and translate outcomes for broad audiences, from policymakers to resource managers.

In 2020, $1.75M was awarded to seven teams for 1-2 year projects chosen from among 37 proposed projects involving 105 U-M faculty and researchers. The projects selected address energy storage, carbon capture and sequestration, public opinion, behavior and equity.

Bold Challenges (http://boldchallenges.umich.edu/) is a new initiative, led by the Office of the Vice President for Research, that integrates social and technical sciences from across the University of Michigan to address societal challenges that intersect equity, health, infrastructure and sustainability. With input from key stakeholders across U-M and beyond, the Bold Challenges initiative will focus on six specific research challenges that align internal strengths with national and global priorities:

- Resilient, equitable and carbon-neutral physical infrastructure
- Sustainable and equitable solutions for the housing crisis
- Healthy adaptation to climate change
- Universal access to healthy water
- Smart health care systems for equitable access
- Better health outcomes through better built environments

The initiative includes a four-phase research accelerator program that will support up to 12 interdisciplinary teams during year one of the initiative. The program includes at least 6 pollination workshops to increase awareness of existing experts on campus, build partnerships with external stakeholders, and identify research challenges. Teams will then be eligible to apply for the team formation phase, which provides each team a project manager, $25,000, and additional administrative and partnership support. At least 5 additional teams will complete an incubation phase including participation in a Value Creation Forum (VCF) and $25,000, a project manager, and administrative support for each team.

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:

One of the guiding principles for faculty tenure review states: Develop standards and criteria for assessing the quality of scholarship and teaching, with special attention to the unique features of interdisciplinary/collaborative activities.

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

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

Research guides: Graham and the Office of Research both offer customized guidance and support for faculty interested in sustainability research as well as workshops and training opportunities.

Materials selection:
The University of Michigan Library System, the Deep Blue archival system and the Graham Sustainability Institute website. The Graham Institute supports the dissemination of faculty and student research reports, summaries and other project-related outcomes of efforts supported by the Dow Sustainability Fellows Program and the Graham Sustainability Institute through a searchable interface on the following pages:
• Reports and Resources - https://graham.umich.edu/index.php/products
• Dow Global Impact Series - https://graham.umich.edu/index.php/products?keywords=&product_type=723&program=
• Funded Projects - https://graham.umich.edu/projects

In addition to the data-driven archive supported by the Graham Institute, the University of Michigan Library System supports the Deep Blue database, see http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/.
The Planet Blue Global Impact website helps faculty connect with one another by compiling sustainability-related research from across U-M.

Positive Outcomes: Through the Dow Global Impact Series, thousands have learned about the impact of this program and multidisciplinary team projects conducted throughout the globe.

You can freely read U-M Press Open Access books on the web with Fulcrum, an open-source, community-based publishing platform developed by Michigan Publishing. A complete PDF and EPUB version of the book may also be available for downloading, reading offline, or printing.
A new agreement between Wiley, publisher of more than 1,500 academic journals, and the Big Ten Academic Alliance offers new open access publishing opportunities to the University of Michigan community. A one-year extension and expansion of a prior agreement include full credit for the article-processing charges, commonly known as APCs, for up to 374 publications by U-M authors in Wiley’s hybrid open access journals. Hybrid journals publish both open access and subscriber-only articles.
This new agreement follows two BTAA agreements announced last year with Cambridge University Press and the open access publisher PLOS. Both offer unlimited, no-charge journal publication to U-M authors in eligible journals.

CLOSUP's Renewable Energy Policy Initiative (REPI) conducts, supports, and disseminates high-quality applied academic research on state and local policies impacting the deployment of renewable energy in the American federal system that informs both scholarship and the policy process. (http://closup.umich.edu/research-projects/renewable-energy-policy-initiative)

Curriculum innovation/e-learning: U-M offers nearly 900 sustainability-related courses and employs nearly 700 faculty with sustainability expertise, covering a huge range of sustainability topics. We have a fully digital sustainability development certificate through the Center for Academic Innovation, through which we also conduct teach-outs and minicourses related to sustainability. Through the Arts Initiative, Detroit Story Lab, and other partnerships, we are integrating sustainability considerations into the arts curricula.

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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