Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 71.02
Liaison Nathan King
Submission Date Oct. 15, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.2

Virginia Tech
ER-15: Sustainability Research Identification

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Dennis Grove
Program Manager, Sustainable Energy and Sustainable Water Thrusts
Virginia Tech Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science (ICTAS)
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Has the institution developed a definition of sustainability research?:

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

Virginia Tech is a public land-grant university offering 65 bachelor's degree programs through its 7 undergraduate academic colleges, 160 master’s and doctoral degrees, and professional degrees from the its Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine and the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute. Virginia Tech ranks 40th in the nation for research expenditures, according to the National Science Foundation. University researchers pursue new discoveries in agriculture, biotechnology, information and communication technology, human health, transportation, energy management (including leadership in fuel-cell technology and power electronics), security, sustainability, and a wide range of other engineering, scientific, social science, and creative fields. Research efforts led to 36 patents and 17 license and option agreements in 2013. Total enrollment is 31,205. Full-time instructional faculty number 1,422. Virginia Tech’s alumni total 230,000 and hail from every state and more than 100 countries.

Virginia Tech defines sustainability research as that which not only leverages the university’s existing and emerging strengths, but meets the basic requirements for human life and prosperity, and does so without harming the environment. Virginia Tech advocates sustainability research in the following areas: energy, materials, and technology; water science, policy, and management; transportation and communication infrastructures; natural resources, ecosystems, and environmental quality; informatics and policy; food and food systems; and sustainable international development.

Virginia Tech defines sustainability in the curriculum generally as sustaining natural and human systems and their related economic, social, and environmental dimensions, consequences, and opportunities. The university offers over 370 different sustainability-focused and 251 sustainability-related graduate and undergraduate courses. Fifty-seven departments out of a total of 81 offer at least one sustainability-related or -focused course. A list of sustainability-focused and –related courses for both undergraduates and graduates is available at the following link: http://www.facilities.vt.edu/sustainability/courses_research.asp.

Further demonstration of the university’s commitment to sustainability is shown through Virginia Tech’s Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science (ICTAS). As the university’s premier research organization focused on sustainability, ICTAS’ stated mission is to advance transformative, interdisciplinary research for a sustainable future. To accomplish this estimable goal, ICTAS harnesses the collective talents of Virginia Tech faculty and researchers engaged in the most powerful converging technologies of the 21st century. ICTAS believes that resolving mankind’s sustainability problems will require a healthy dose of innovation, multiple perspectives, teamwork, and a culture of nimbleness that enables the application and development of technologies and practices.

The ICTAS definition of sustainability reflects the firmly held view that food, water, energy, shelter, transportation, healthcare, and employment are basic requirements for life and prosperity that should be met for every human without compromising the ability of the environment-- which is limited in its carrying capacity--to meet the needs of future generations in a manner that is economically and socially sustainable.

In January 2013, ICTAS devoted the entire issue of its Connection magazine to sustainability and the fabric of ICTAS research. A pdf version of this publication can be accessed at the following link: http://www.ictas.vt.edu/communication/pdf/conn12.pdf.

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

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

Virginia Tech’s Office of Sponsored Research requires that principal investigators submit an internal routing form known as the “Proposal Approval Form.” This form expedites review by Office of Sponsored Research personnel and requests approval of project proposals and agreements between the university and sponsoring entities. It also serves as a way for Virginia Tech to capture information on various research theme areas--security, resilience, health, and sustainability--being pursued by university faculty and researchers. This form defines sustainability as research that leverages existing and emerging strengths in: energy, materials, and technology; water science, policy, and management; transportation and communication infrastructures; natural resources, ecosystems, and environmental quality; informatics and policy; food and food systems; and sustainable international development. Information on Virginia Tech’s sustainability research initiatives is collected from self-selected material provided on the Proposal Approval Form.

The “Virginia Tech Sustainability Grant Funded Research for FY 2012-14” worksheet was created from a comprehensive list of all grant funded research efforts. This information is listed at the following link: http://www.facilities.vt.edu/sustainability/courses_research.asp, and details are provided in response to ER 16 and ER 17.

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):
Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.