Sustainability Research Inventory (3.0)

This is an optional Innovation & Leadership (IL) credit. IL credits recognize institutions that are seeking innovative solutions to sustainability challenges and demonstrating sustainability leadership in ways that are not otherwise captured in STARS. Scoring in the Innovation and Leadership section is capped at 10 bonus points total.

Credit Language

IL 6: Sustainability Research Inventory – version 3.0

Questions & Answers

How has this credit changed between STARS Version 2 and Version 3?

This indicator replaces a standard 2.2 credit, and the inventory criteria are now less prescriptive. A comprehensive list of differences can be found in the STARS 3.0 Summary of changes.

What type of research qualifies under this credit? Do both ecological and social dimensions of sustainability have to be covered in order to count? 

Sustainability research involves research activities and scholarly work that explicitly address the concept of sustainability, further our understanding of the interdependence of ecological and social/cultural/economic systems, or have a primary and explicit focus on a sustainability challenge. Research that focuses on a sustainability challenge may or may not address both ecological and social dimensions of sustainability. 

My institution conducts confidential research. How should this be handled in terms of conducting a departmental research inventory?

This bonus credit is reserved for institutions that conduct and publicly report on a comprehensive sustainability research assessment that includes all academic employees, all funded projects, and all published scholarly work. Institutions should not pursue this bonus credit if confidential research occurs for a significant portion of total research conducted. 

Resources, Templates & Tools

Suggestions for Institutions

  • In the uploaded inventory, consider including a short description of the sustainability challenges and/or Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) addressed by each project, publication, and/or researcher.
  • If pursuing this bonus credit, be aware that it may take some time to complete a comprehensive research inventory. Consider getting started on this early in the data collection process.
  • Timeframe: There should be some indication that the research inventory was completed within the last three years.

Potential Data Quality Issues

  • Inventory is complete – The process used to complete the inventory must be inclusive of all academic employees that conduct research, all funded research projects, and/or all published scholarly work.

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