Research and Scholarship

For details about this credit, including the criteria, reporting timeframe, applicability, scoring, and more, please review the full credit language (v2.2).

Frequently Asked Questions

What information needs to be included in the research inventory?

For every individual being counted towards scoring, the research inventory must include:

  • Name
  • Departmental affiliation
  • Research interests/topics or a brief description justifying the individual’s inclusion

Templates & Tools

  • Faculty survey template. Ask academic staff to self-identify sustainability courses and research.
  • Research inventory. Download Excel file or copy Google Sheet. Use or adapt this template to document sustainability research and scholarship and, optionally, track contributions to the SDGs.
  • Sample keywords to help identify sustainability challenges (derived from the Earth Charter and SDG targets). Use or adapt to conduct a preliminary keyword search of faculty research interests or publications. The presence of a keyword may or may not indicate that a sustainability challenge is addressed. Additional analysis is required.
  • SDG targets

Example Responses

Version 2.2

  • Gonzaga University – Good example of effective use of the STARS 2.2 Research Inventory Template. Optional content for UN SDGs is completed. 
  • Susquehanna University – Good reporting example for smaller institutions, with research inventory in doc form.
  • University of Cincinnatti – Inventory is detailed and includes links to researcher profiles.
  • University of Utah – Research inventory is well organized, lists research examples, departments, and research categories. 

Version 2.1

  • Colorado State University – Research inventory goes above and beyond credit criteria, also listing research descriptions, connection to sustainability and additional information.
  • State University of New York at New Paltz – Research inventory goes above and beyond the minimum required criteria, including dimension(s) of sustainability, local/regional/global scale, and a summary of the research.
  • Thompson Rivers University – Research inventory goes above and beyond credit criteria, also including research topic.

Common Issues Identified During Review

  • Numeric outlier: Response for “Number of academic departments that include at least one employee who conducts sustainability research” should be comprehensive. Amounts below 10 are unlikely and should be reviewed closely (particularly for medium-sized or larger institutions). Academic departments are distinct from broad academic divisions and are devoted to particular academic disciplines (e.g., Economics, Environmental Science, Sociology).
  • Numeric outlier: Responses for “Total number of employees that conduct research” should be comprehensive. This figure must include, at minimum, all ​academic staff​ for whom research is considered in promotion and/or tenure decisions
  • The number of academic departments reported in this credit should be generally consistent with the number reported in Academics and Demographics, with the exception that departments that do not produce may be excluded. Instances where the numbers are greatly different should be explained in the Notes field.
  • The research inventory should be a comprehensive list rather than a sample and include each individual’s name, departmental affiliation, AND research interests/topics or a brief description justifying her/his inclusion. Employee and department counts should be consistent between the inventory and what is reported under the credit.

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