Northwestern University launched the Initiative for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN) to support research, teaching and outreach in these critical areas. ISEN will seek solutions to some of society's most pressing problems by consolidating and building on existing strengths, as well as fostering new efforts.
ISEN is unusual among university-based centers in that it focuses on both energy and sustainability/the environment. Another strength is collaboration with the Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, ISEN's primary research partner. The two institutions will develop an integrated research platform in energy and sustainability, and will organize major conferences with top experts on the topics of energy and sustainability and their associated policy and economic issues.
The research partnership with Argonne National Laboratory will encourage the promotion of other energy activities, including the Argonne-Northwestern Solar Energy Research Center (ANSER), the Center for Energy Efficient Transportation and the Institute for Sustainable Practices. Many other Northwestern centers, including those focused on nanoscience, technology, catalysis and transportation, will be involved with ISEN. ISEN also develops and maintains strong relationships with domestic and international corporations, foundations, government agencies, international organizations and other educational institutions.
At its core, ISEN will promote and financially support fundamental scientific research, teaching and outreach, leading to an understanding of sustainable energy supply, demand and use. The initiative will expand an already solid base of research at Northwestern: during the last academic year, the University was awarded approximately $37 million for sponsored research in energy and sustainability. Science in Society received a outreach award to develop Eco-Stars, a program designed to teach principles of recycling and sustainable waste management to middle school youth in Chicago Public Schools.