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The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 58.08
Liaison Kristi Wiedemann
Submission Date March 13, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Princeton University
AC-10: Support for Research

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 4.00 Holly Welles
Manager of Communications and Outreach
Princeton Environmental Institute
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a program to encourage student sustainability research that meets the criteria for this credit?:

A brief description of the institution’s program(s) to encourage student research in sustainability:

Course-related field work and laboratories

Faculty and associated faculty of the Princeton Environmental Institute represent a community of scholars and dedicated educators who encourage and mentor students to pursue rigorous environmental study and research. Entry level and upper level courses comprising the Environmental Studies course of study incorporate a “Real World Model” as part of a laboratory curriculum that uses the campus and local community as laboratories for scientific study of environment and sustainability topics. Also, field research is an important component of multiple entry level and upper level ENV courses and seminars with course-related field work in destinations including Kenya, Bermuda, and Panama.

Summer research fellowships

Princeton undergraduates have the opportunity to complement their academic coursework with hands-on, engaging, independent research, and project experiences during the summer months. Students interested in exploring and expanding their knowledge of complex global environmental problems related to energy and climate, sustainable development in Africa, infectious disease and global health, and environmental sustainability may apply to one of 90-plus established internships with faculty on research projects or with select mentored projects with NGOs, academic, policy, or industry enterprises.
For more information: http://www.princeton.edu/pei/undergrads/internships/
To learn more about the previous interns’ work: http://www.princeton.edu/pei/undergrads/internships/meet-our-interns/

Princeton undergraduates may also request funding to support self-initiated projects involving environment or sustainability themes with connections to their academic course of study and a suitable mentor clearly identified. Such experiences frequently guide the selection of independent research projects in the senior year – a requirement of the undergraduate experience at Princeton. Princeton undergraduates may apply for support of travel, research, and supplies for field research on environmental or sustainability topics related to their senior independent projects. A few recent field research projects include, “The Environmental and Policy Implications of the Proposed Conduit Linking the Red Sea with the Dead Sea” by Richard Grove ’14, “Fisheries in Greece: How Will They Change with a Changing Climate?” by Lydia Rudnick ’13, and “Environmental Technology, CSR and Stock Market Performance in China and the U.S.” by Chenyu Zheng ’12.
For more information: http://www.princeton.edu/pei/undergrads/funding/

Undergraduate Institute for Study of Rainforests

Led by Princeton faculty, the Princeton Institute for Rainforests and the Amazon including their Nutrients, Hydrology, and the Atmosphere (PIRANHA) provides undergraduates with funding, connections, and the support needed to carry out state-of-the-science research on topics related to sustainability of tropical forests. Additionally, they have also incorporated new lectures and modules in Princeton courses. For example, they provided the course, “Climate and the Terrestrial Biosphere” with new lecture modules that gave students the theoretical underpinning of the tropical carbon cycle, carbon-nitrogen interactions, and the ED2 model.
For more information: http://www.princeton.edu/grandchallenges/energy/research-highlights/rainforest-research/

Graduate Fellowship Program for Energy and Climate Scholars

The Princeton Energy and Climate Scholars (PECS) involves Ph.D. candidates from a wide range of departments including Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Economics, Geosciences, and from the School of Engineering and the Woodrow Wilson School. Launched in 2008 with support of the Seibel Energy Challenge, PECS enhances the research experience of Princeton’s graduate students involved in climate and energy research and encourages the most talented of these students to transcend the boundaries of their fields by fostering a sense of common intellectual adventure. Students are selected by competitive application to participate in the PECS Program, receive a modest research stipend, meet bi-monthly as a group and with an interdisciplinary faculty board of advisors.

Graduate Research Awards for work in energy and climate

The central component of PEI's graduate program is the Program in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy (PEI-STEP), offered in affiliation with the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. This two-year program enables participating students to explore the environmental policy dimensions of their doctoral research. Students who complete the requirements of the PEI-STEP fellowship program are awarded a Graduate Certificate in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in addition to receiving a degree from the department in which the student is enrolled. Since 2000, the program has supported over 40 PEI-STEP Fellows, many of whom have gone to pursue positions of environmental leadership in academic, government, non-profit, and industry sectors following their time at Princeton.
Previous awardees:
2014: http://www.princeton.edu/pei/news/archive/?id=13238
2013: http://www.princeton.edu/pei/news/archive/?id=10381
2012: http://www.princeton.edu/pei/news/archive/?id=7565

The PEI Walbridge Fund Award, initiated in 2009, provides 2-3 awards annually in amounts up to $10,000 to Princeton graduate students pursuing innovative projects in the fields of energy technology, carbon policy, and climate science. Funds may be used for a range of purposes, including fieldwork support, travel, conference participation, the purchase of equipment, and costs associated with data analysis and facilities use. A competitive application process is held annually with awards determined by a Faculty Selection Committee.
For more information: http://www.princeton.edu/pei/grads/fellowships-awards/walbridge/
Previous awardees:
2014: http://www.princeton.edu/pei/news/archive/?id=13123
2013: http://www.princeton.edu/pei/news/archive/?id=10585
2012: http://www.princeton.edu/pei/news/archive/?id=7498

The Mary and Randall Hack '69 Award provides research funding to support Princeton University graduate students pursuing innovative research on water and water-related topics with implications for the environment.
For more information and previous awardees: http://www.princeton.edu/pei/grads/fellowships-awards/hack-graduate-award/

The website URL where information about the student research program is available:
Does the institution have a program to encourage faculty sustainability research that meets the criteria for this credit?:

A brief description of the institution’s program(s) to encourage faculty research in sustainability:

Through its Grand Challenges Program, Princeton promotes cutting-edge interdisciplinary research on energy, health, and development themes. Research funding is awarded and carried out locally and around the world with the engagement of a broad cross-section of the University community to explore the scientific, technical, public policy, and human dimensions of global environmental problems.

Research from the Grand Challenges program has focused on a multitude of issues, including, climate syndromes, the Sargasso sea, ecosystem spatial patterns, climate change and agriculture, health as an ecosystem service, potable water, and many more.
Climate and Energy Challenge Research Highlights: http://www.princeton.edu/grandchallenges/energy/research-highlights/
Development Challenge Research Highlights: http://www.princeton.edu/grandchallenges/development/research-highlights/
Health Challenge Research Highlights: http://www.princeton.edu/grandchallenges/health/research-highlights/

The High Meadows Foundation Sustainability Fund provides grants for faculty sustainability research projects that use the campus as a laboratory and benefit the Princeton community. It has funded several projects between 2012-2014, including Karen Malatesta and Wole Soboyejo’s research into bioremediation of plastic waste.

The website URL where information about the faculty research program is available:
Has the institution formally adopted policies and procedures that give positive recognition to interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary research during faculty promotion and/or tenure decisions?:

A brief description or the text of the institution’s policy regarding interdisciplinary research:

The website URL where information about the treatment of interdisciplinary research is available:

Does the institution provide ongoing library support for sustainability research and learning that meets the criteria for this credit?:

A brief description of the institution's library support for sustainability research and learning:

The website URL where information about the institution's library support for sustainability is available:

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.