A central challenge of our time is sustaining the world’s developing and urbanizing population while minimizing damage to the environment. The far-reaching importance of environmental sustainability presents an impetus for the University to make broad contributions through research, local action, and intellectual impact on a global scale.
The University is invested in empowering students and faculty to create a scientifically robust and sustainable future. Through the work of researchers and students, the University is building understanding about the world’s resource consumption, its diverse impacts on the environment, and timely and effective ways of responding. The distinctive education that our students receive equips them to tackle a wide range of environmental challenges. At the same time, the University is working to channel its research and community of experts to evaluate and reduce its own resource use.
The University makes a significant impact on energy and environmental challenges through its faculty research and is committing resources to increase that impact. Sustainability work across the University and its affiliates addresses everything from basic scientific research on energy, climate, and the environment, to economic and policy analysis.
Academic and Affiliated Programs
The Abrams Environmental Law Clinic works on behalf of clients to solve some of the most pressing environmental problems in Chicago, Illinois, and the Great Lakes region.
Two of the University’s affiliated laboratories are breaking ground in crucial areas of environmental sustainability. As one of the world’s preeminent research institutions, Argonne National Laboratory works in such areas as batteries and energy storage, renewable energy, atmospheric and climate science, and environmental security and restoration. At the Marine Biological Laboratory, researchers explore fundamental biology, biodiversity and the environment, and the human condition.
Argonne-based Joint Center for Energy Storage Research is designing and building transformative materials enabling next-generation batteries that satisfy all the performance metrics for a given application.
The Array of Things is a collaborative effort among leading scientists, universities, local government, and communities to collect real-time data on urban environment, infrastructure, and activity for research and public use.
The Energy and Environment Lab partners with civic and community leaders to identify, rigorously evaluate, and help scale programs and policies that reduce pollution, conserve limited natural resources, and improve environmental outcomes, while ensuring access to reliable and affordable energy.
The Energy Policy Institute at Chicago contributes solutions using a unique approach that translates cutting-edge research into real-world impacts through strategic outreach, and training for the next generation of global energy leaders.
The Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering’s Water Research Initiative investigates many aspects of water use, including novel purification methods, efficient use in agriculture, and optimal power usage in water treatment and distribution.
Classes such as Professor Elisabeth Moyer’s “Energy: Science, Technology, and Human Usage,” have resulted in student-conducted research projects on state and national energy policy, private-sector energy decisions, and campus energy use.
The College runs the Program on the Global Environment, which includes the Environmental and Urban Studies major and minor, faculty-led research projects, lectures, and conferences, as well as student initiatives and collaborations with registered student organizations and public education and outreach.