This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

July 06, 2005

New University Centers Focus on Energy Challenges

If universities are truly the seats of knowledge, it's well worth noting what trends universities are following: Lately, a number of universities are beefing up their involvement in energy issues. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), for example, opened the Center for Future Energy Studies on its campus in Troy, New York, in early June. RPI created the new $20 million research center in partnership with Cornell University and DOE's Brookhaven National Laboratory, with a goal of meeting this century's energy challenges through energy conservation and renewable energy. In late June, RPI also launched a new $4.8 million interdisciplinary program to train doctoral students in fuel cell science and engineering. See the RPI press releases from June 7th and June 21st.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is also preparing to take on the world's energy challenges, and has formed the Energy Research Council to help it do so. MIT Provost Robert Brown appointed the Energy Research Council to lead MIT's planning for an initiative in energy-related research and education. The new council will develop a picture of the current state of MIT energy-related research and expertise, create a list of promising science and engineering research areas that match global needs and MIT capabilities, and recommend an organizational structure that would facilitate work in these areas. See the MIT press release.

The California Clean Energy Fund is hoping to find a university in northern California with a similar vision toward the future. The fund— formed earlier this year with settlement money from the bankruptcy of Pacific Gas and Electric—intends to award a grant of $1 million to help establish and maintain a leading university center for energy efficiency. See the fund's request for proposals (MS Word 90 KB).