... And the research the new Atkinson Center will support
Established in 2007 with major support from David and Patricia Atkinson, the Center for a Sustainable Future currently engages 220 faculty members from 10 colleges and involves 55 departments in interdisciplinary research related to the environment, energy and economic development.
Among its current enterprises:
Researchers are collaborating to reduce energy consumption and curb emissions, while also seeking ways of capturing and sequestering greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Contributors include members of a new multidisciplinary program centered around the computation and modeling of sustainable energy systems; faculty and students in three colleges creating tools for sustainable architectural designs; and researchers at the Energy Materials Center at Cornell working to develop high-performance, durable and affordable materials for advanced fuel cell and battery components.
Scientists are exploring the effects of climate change, biodiversity loss, invasive species and pollution from the perspectives of population genetics, modeling, biogeochemistry, economics, environmental sociology and microbiology.
Cornell is at the forefront of research to develop index-based insurance for poor herders and farmers and for pre-financing of emergency response by humanitarian organizations. Other Cornell researchers are working on microfinance enterprises in the developing world, the effect of climate change on job growth, the link between agriculture and health, and sustainable crop and livestock management.
Center-funded research is contributing to ongoing, larger efforts to develop technology for bio-based energy and feedstock production. Researchers are exploring ways to convert sugars from perennial grasses and woody biomass into fuel and other products. The effort involves dozens of researchers in departments from applied economics and management to engineering and physics.
The center also provides seed funding, publicizes research funding opportunities, and promotes grants, employment and conference prospects. Its programs have awarded more than 40 grants totaling more than $4 million since 2008.
The center has also so far raised an additional $55 million in external support.