Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 63.30
Liaison Dennis Cochrane
Submission Date March 19, 2013
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.2

Virginia Tech
ER-15: Sustainability Research Identification

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Dennis Cochrane
Director, Office of Sustainability
Division of Campus Planning, Infrastructure and Facilities
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Has the institution developed a definition of sustainability research?:

A copy of the institution's definition of sustainability research:

Virginia Tech’s 2006-2012 Strategic Plan Update affirms the university’s commitment to achieving excellence as a comprehensive land-grant university that makes innovative contributions in learning, discovery, and engagement. The Discovery Scholarship Domain outlines the university’s commitments to research and creative scholarship in strategically important areas, drawing upon established strengths and building resources in order to capture opportunities and produce quality research. Sustainability research definitions are imbedded within the four strategic priorities of the Discovery Scholarship Domain which are defined as follows:

1. Energy, Materials, and Environment. “These areas of scholarship are interwoven and require focused and multidisciplinary research activities. Energy, in particular, promises to be an area for innovative research in sustainable energy supplies. Materials research is a strength upon which collaborations and multidisciplinary efforts can be built within and outside the university. Water quality and environmental health research are signature areas for environmental research.”

2. Social and Individual Transformation. “The dynamics of economic, social, political, technological, environmental, and cultural change are at the heart of this area of research and creative scholarship, which has application in domestic and international aspects of community life.”

3. Health, Food and Nutrition. “Two areas of focus are the strategic priorities for this research initiative. The infectious disease initiatives are focused on the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and management of naturally or purposely introduced emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases. A comprehensive approach to the prevention and treatment of obesity is the second key area of emphasis.”

4. Innovative Technologies and Complex Systems. “Powering progress in all areas of discovery are cutting-edge technologies and the development of systems to solve complex problems. Advancements will be achieved by strategically investing in nanotechnology, bioinformatics, biotechnology, high performance computing, power electronics and robotics, wireless technologies, and geographic information systems.”

For further information about the Discovery Scholarship Domain, please see: http://www.president.vt.edu/strategic-plan/executive-summary.html

Has the institution identified its sustainability research activities and initiatives?:

A brief description of the methodology the institution followed to complete the inventory:

Research Institutes and University Research Centers of Virginia Tech cross discipline and college lines to address the nation’s priorities and grand challenges of sustainability. Sustainability research activities and initiatives include strategic priorities discussed in the Discovery Scholarship Domain previously described. Based on the four categories in the Discovery Scholarship Domain (Energy, Social, Health, and Tech), the “Virginia Tech Sustainability Grant Funded Research for FY 2011” worksheet was created from a comprehensive list of all current grant funded research efforts.

Along with the many college and department centers, laboratories, and groups, hundreds of researchers are working to make life better for us all and educate tomorrow’s scientists and engineers. The university’s research enterprise includes a number of partnerships.

The seven Research Institutes of Virginia Tech enhance the university's ability to address large scale research opportunities by crossing traditional disciplinary and college lines. The seven institutes provide clients access to world class expertise across many disciplines and to the scientific and technical capability of specially equipped, advanced laboratories. For more information, please see: http://www.research.vt.edu/institutes/index.php

1. The Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science (ICTAS) promotes cutting-edge research at the intersection of engineering, science, and medicine. For more information about ICTAS research efforts, please see: http://www.ictas.vt.edu
Focus areas of ICTAS:
a. Nanoscale Science and Engineering
b. Nano-Bio Interface
c. Sustainable Energy
d. Renewable Materials
e. Sustainable Water
f. Cognitive and Communications Systems
g. National Security
h. Emerging Technologies

2. The Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment (ISCE) strengthens the university’s competitive position in social sciences, arts, and humanities. For more information about ISCE research efforts, please see: http://www.isce.vt.edu/
Focus areas of ISCE:
a. Global Issues and Initiative
b. Human Development and Behavioral Health
c. Rhetoric, Representation, and Public Humanities
d. Social Complexity and Individual Risk
e. Community Arts, Built Environments, and Urban Formations

3. The Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) combines information technology, medicine, and biology to generate, interpret, and apply vast amounts of data to solve problems in the biomedical, environmental, and agricultural sciences. For more information about VBI research efforts, please see: http://www.vbi.vt.edu/
Focus areas of VBI:
a. High-Capacity Resources for Disease Research
b. Ultra-Scale Biomedical Data Analysis, Interpretation, and Simulation
c. Access to Innovative High Performing Computing
d. Predictive Diagnostic Tests and Therapeutics
e. Commercialization and Entrepreneurship

4. The Fralin Life Sciences Institute (FLSI) promotes interdisciplinary research and education in the sciences. For more information about FLSI research efforts, please see: http://www.fralin.vt.edu
Focus areas of FLSI:
a. Vector-Borne Disease
b. Metabolic Disorders
c. Infectious Disease
d. Plant Molecular Disease
e. Cell Biology

5. The Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute conducts interdisciplinary and translational research within the medical sciences to facilitate discovery-based medical education and to continually improve patient care through discovery and research. For more information about Carilion Research Institute research efforts, please see: http://www.vtc.vt.edu/
Focus areas of Carilion Research Institute:
a. Addiction Research
b. Cancer Biology
c. Computational Biology
d. Developmental and Regenerative Medicine
e. Cardiovascular Science and Cardiology
f. Infectious Diseases
g. Inflammation
h. Neurobiology, Cognitive Neuroscience, and Decision-Science

6. The Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT) conducts and applies trans-disciplinary, collaborative research to enhance learning in PK-12 and higher education environments. For more information about ICAT research efforts, please see: http://www.icat.vt.edu/
Focused on the intersection of the arts, creative technologies, and learning, ICAT targeted research and scholarship areas are:
a. Critical and Creative Thinking Skills
b. Learning Advancement, especially in Math, Science, Social Skills, and Language Arts
c. Innovation of Trans-Disciplinary Educational Experiences

7. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) develops and uses state-of-the-art tools, techniques, and technologies to solve transportation challenges. For more information about VTTI research efforts, please see: http://www.vtti.vt.edu/
Focus areas of VTTI:
a. Human Factors and Safety
b. Transportation Technology
c. Roadway Infrastructure
d. Traffic Mobility
e. Injury Biomechanics
f. Transportation Policy
g. Product Development

Additional Research Efforts at Virginia Tech:

Research at Virginia Tech Home Page: http://www.research.vt.edu/index.php

Research Institutes of Virginia Tech Brochure:

Other Centers, Labs, and Groups Doing Research at Virginia Tech: http://www.research.vt.edu/resmag/crossing/

Dean’s Task Force on Energy, Security, and Sustainability:

Does the institution make its sustainability research inventory publicly available online?:

The website URL where the sustainability research inventory is posted (required if claiming Part 3 of the credit):

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.