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by Mog,Justin M last modified Nov 17, 2015 03:23 PM

Pursuing a deeper understanding of sustainability challenges and solutions.

Conn Center - Biofuels

The Sustainability Council envisions the University of Louisville as a living laboratory of sustainability. This means that faculty and students from all disciplines have the opportunity to study the environmental, social and economic challenges to sustainability that exist right here on campus and in our community...and to research solutions that make sense here.

UofL Sustainability Scholars Roundtable

Research Minute - Solar Powered Car
Research Minute - Invasive Species
Conn Center - Solar Manufacturing

All UofL faculty, staff, and graduate students engaged in research related to sustainability are encouraged to join us for an on-going series of Sustainability Scholars Roundtables. More info and profiles of UofL Sustainability Scholars here. We gather several times a year to share research interests, goals, and projects; hear from external renowned scholars; have roundtable discussions about sustainability research; and discuss specific sustainability topics of common interest. Our focus at the start has been on "resilience" -- what is it? how do we understand, measure, analyze, and consider it? how is it similar to or different from sustainability? how can concepts of resilience aid sustainability? etc.  Other topics will be developed for the future.

The long-term goals of this initiative are to:

  • Develop awareness of sustainability research at UofL;
  • Develop networks of scholars to enhance collaboration and sharing of ideas;
  • Enhance research grant capacity & opportunities through interdisciplinary proposals;
  • Improve & increase sustainability-related research at UofL.

This is a project of the Sustainability Council's Research Committee. For more info, contact Tony Arnold.

UofL's Sustainability Centers

Many UofL researchers outside of these centers also conduct studies related to sustainability topics. Many of these studies can be identified using our online reference search tool and are listed in our inventories of sustainability research at UofL:

UofL Sustainability Research Incentives

  • Faculty and students interested in researching sustainability are encouraged to apply for UofL's Intramural Research Incentive Grants:
    • Multidisciplinary Research Grant (MRG): The goal of the MRG program is to identify new areas of promising multidisciplinary research in the university that will lead to improvements in federally-funded research competitiveness. The focus is to seed innovative research activities that have potential for competing in multidisciplinary extramurally funded grants programs. NSF's Crosscutting/Interdisciplinary programs and NIH's programs in Biomedical Engineering are two specific examples, but other federal funding agencies support multidisciplinary research programs in specific high priority areas as well. Applicants are required to be full-time faculty members. Awards will be made up to $10,000 for one year.  Application Forms and Deadlines
    • Vice President for Research Undergraduate Research Scholar Grant (URS): The primary purpose of a URS is to enrich the research, scholarship and creative arts experience of the undergraduate student by involving the student in research collaboration with a faculty member. The student is expected to become intellectually involved in design and execution of the research project, not just serve as "another pair of hands." The undergraduate student writes the URS proposal after he or she has identified a faculty mentor who is interested in serving as the mentor. The faculty mentor is expected to make arrangements for the student to receive up to three hours of course credit for the research or creative activity and provide a grade for the work completed by the student. Students are encouraged to present a poster, or an equivalent demonstration of the research, on the Undergraduate Research Day. The student may request up to $300 (dry lab/creative activity) or $500 (wet lab) for supplies and expenses required for conducting the research or creative activity. URS proposals may be submitted at any time. They will be reviewed on a monthly basis. The form can be found on the web.   Application Form
    • Project Completion Grant (PCG):The primary purpose of a PCG is to assist faculty who are nearing the end of a scholarly project and need some ancillary support to bring it to completion. PCG funds may be used to cover the costs of travel required to complete the project, manuscript preparation, library computer searches, release from teaching duties, or other reasonable and appropriate research expenses. Grants up to $4,000 are provided.   Application Forms and Deadlines
    • Research Initiation Grant (RIG): The primary purpose of a RIG is to assist faculty in the initiation of new research projects. Funds may be used for equipment, expendable supplies, travel necessary for the conduct of the research, student wages, release from teaching duties, or other reasonable and appropriate research expenses. In general, priority is given to new faculty, those entering new areas of research and scholarship and others who have not previously received an RIG. Grants up to $5,000 are provided.  Application Forms and Deadlines
    • Research On Women Grant (ROW): This grant is available to full- and part-time faculty. The primary purpose of an ROW grant is to provide support to stimulate scholarship on women and encourage research on women's issues. Funds may be used for equipment, expendable supplies, travel necessary for the conduct of the research, student wages, release from teaching duties, or other reasonable and appropriate research expenses. Grants are provided up to $4,000.   Application Forms and Deadlines
    • Undergraduate Research Grants (URG): The primary purpose of a URG is to enhance the research environment of a unit by involving undergraduate students in research in collaboration with a faculty mentor. Special consideration will be given to projects in which the student is intellectually involved in design and execution of the research. Students will be expected to provide a written report on their project participation and have it evaluated by faculty. Students are encouraged to co-author scholarly research papers with their mentors. Priority will be given to projects involving UofL undergraduates and no awards will be made to projects in which students provide just "another pair of hands." URG funds may be used for undergraduate student stipends and supplies. They may range from a 10-week summer project to a full year. Grants up to $3,000 are provided.    Application Forms and Deadlines
  • The Office of Community Engagement Faculty Grants Program fosters UofL faculty and staff projects within the west Louisville community and Jefferson County. This is a great opportunity for those interested in weaving community-based sustainability issues into courses and research! The grant focuses on infrastructure development, research and non-research projects which hold a community participatory action perspective. Full details and grant application here.
  • The Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research Faculty Research Fund helps sponsor, stimulate and disseminate research relevant to the Louisville community and the U.S. South on social movements, citizen participation, and public policy reforms around racial and social justice. Proposals that engage one or more social justice topics (historical or contemporary) such as race, class, gender, sexuality, religion, ethnicity, environmentalism, disability, and/or age will be given preference. Any faculty member in the College of Arts & Sciences is eligible to apply for a grant of up to $1,000 during a period not to exceed 12 months (this includes term and part-time faculty). Proposals that represent faculty/community or faculty/student collaborations are especially encouraged.
  • Students can also seek funding through the Anne Braden Institute's Social Justice Research Awards. Graduate and undergraduate students from any discipline are asked to engage one or more social justice topics, with a preference given to papers engaging race, class, gender, sexuality, religion, ethnicity, environmentalism, disability, and/or age. The best two undergraduate applications receive $100 each, while the best graduate application receives $300.
  • The Summer Research Opportunity Program provides UofL undergraduate students (preferably juniors or sophomores) who would like to know more about graduate-level education at the university, with a 10-week research-intensive experience in a department that offers graduate degrees. Mentors will provide students with individualized research projects. All UofL departments with graduate programs will be supported. Students will receive a stipend of $3,500 for the 10 weeks and the mentor is eligible for up to $500 to support the student's research and costs for production of the poster that is required.
  • The Ali Scholars Program, offered by the Muhammad Ali Institute for Peace and Justice to full-time undergraduate UofL students, is a unique 2-year experience combining training, research and service in the areas of violence prevention and peace building in an urban living context. A special emphasis is placed on understanding and addressing the social conditions that impact those issues. Scholars will receive a $500 scholarship each semester, for a total program scholarship of $2,000.
  • Conn Center Fellows: Want to be involved in advances in renewable energy? The Leigh Ann Conn Fellows Program is for grads & undergrads planning to conduct energy-related research. Areas include Solar Decathlon, Solar Manufacturing R&D, Biofuels/Biomass R&D, and Materials Discovery/Manufacturing. Full info and application details here.
  • UofL faculty and students are encouraged to apply for grants through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) program: The EPA offers annual research grants to U.S. colleges and universities to engage students in projects to solve our world's most serious environmental challenges. Through its P3 program, students working on teams design sustainability solutions and compete for more funding to take their ideas from the lab to the real world. EPA's P3 program fosters team-based learning, interdisciplinary effort and class-to-real-world experience.
  • KREC Competitive Grants Program (FY2008-2011)
    The Kentucky Renewable Energy Consortium (KREC), administered by the Kentucky Pollution Prevention Center (KPPC) at UofL's J.B. Speed School of Engineering, encouraged faculty research through the Competitive Grants Program. KREC advanced and funded innovative research on renewable energy and energy efficiency that focuses on developing resource-responsible technologies and practices for the energy sector.  A total of $864,000 was awarded to seven recipients in the latest round of grants. Though grant funding has expired, you can still join KREC on Facebook to share information, discuss ideas, ask questions or post items of interest to the renewable energy community and help get the word out about what's happening in renewable energy and energy efficiency in Kentucky!

UofL Sustainability Research Needs

In our efforts to make UofL into a living laboratory of sustainability, the Council seeks researchers and faculty collaborators from all disciplines to work directly with us and to sponsor students (GRAs, interns, work-study, service learning, class projects, volunteers, etc.) to help us investigate ways to improve and enhance sustainability. If you want to get connected with other researchers or potential projects on campus, please contact the assistant to the provost for sustainability initiatives, Justin Mog, justin.mog (at) UofL has many concrete sustainability research needs, including the following vital efforts:

    • Metrics for Sustainability: Gathering and analyzing data about campus sustainability
    • Greenhouse gas emissions accounting, offsetting and reduction strategies
    • Socially-Responsible Investment strategies, policies, practices, and opportunities
    • Renewable energy pilot projects (biofuels, solar, wind, geothermal, hydro) - design, siting, monitoring, etc.
    • Effective communication strategies for behavior modification & culture change (e.g. recycling, commuting, food -  local/healthy/less meat, smoke-free campus, on-campus energy/water conservation, etc.)
    • Transportation choices, commuter behaviors, parking subsidies, and system improvements
    • Human Resource management strategies for sustainability
    • Green Purchasing: Product life-cycle analysis (ecological footprints)
    • Sustainable Landscapes: Organic campus food gardens & orchards, landscape management, native landscaping, campus trees, wildlife habitat, ecological services, etc.
    • Storm water management projects and monitoring (e.g. rain gardens, vegetated roofs, water catchment systems, infiltration systems, pervious pavement, etc.)
    • Community-scale composting and vermiculture
    • Consumer behavior studies around food choices, bottled water usage, waste production, and green purchasing
    • UofL EcoReps - Sustainability training, leadership and advocacy strategies
    • Campus Farmers Markets - Sustaining markets, engaging customers, supporting vendors, reaching the under-served, etc.
    • Diversity & Affordability studies and support programs
    • Model Green Room designs, monitoring, user-studies, educational tools, etc.
    • Building Dashboards and Conservation Competitions as engagement and educational tools
    • Community Engagement strategies for sustainability
    • Computer management strategies for energy and resource conservation
    • University Housing: Engaging and educating campus residents about sustainability
    • Sustainability in Campus Master Planning and building design
    • Curriculum development and interdisciplinary education strategies for sustainability
    • Waste Reduction strategies and systems
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