Sustainability is the defining challenge of this century. How do we create a healthy and prosperous future for humanity that Earth can sustain in the face of a rapidly changing climate and exploding human population? To meet this challenge, we will need to make dramatic progress across many domains. We will need to invest in basic science. We will need to leverage considerable advances in engineering technology and data science to catalyze and capitalize on innovations that can transform both how we think about ecosystems and the way we incorporate renewable resources into our energy system. We also will need to make parallel innovations to support decision makers implementing policy and social changes. We will need to leverage and forge partnerships with key stakeholders, from governments to businesses. And we must educate the next generation of leaders to devise solutions for 21st-century challenges.
As part of Stanford’s long-range planning process, a 12-person design team composed of faculty from all seven schools developed a plan to move sustainability forward at Stanford. Stanford aspires to tackle two broad areas through the Sustainability Accelerator: Climate Change Solutions and Fostering a Healthy Planet and Healthy People. Critical to advancing solutions on both themes is the recognition that moving to a sustainable society will depend on Creating a Political-Social-Economic Framework that defines social norms and expectations. These three themes are illustrated in the graphic attached.
Crucial to all of this will be the creation of “action pathways” through which we will partner with key stakeholders, such as governments, development banks, private investors, communities, NGOs, and industry. We need to further leverage Stanford as a living lab for scaling potential solutions, using faculty and students as field researchers and liaisons – embedding sustainability across the educational programs we offer.
To prepare our students to become change-makers in sustainability, we must empower them with knowledge, frameworks, skills, experiences, mindsets, and agency, realized through scholarship, individual and collective action, and civic and community engagement. We seek having sustainability as a vibrant thread that runs through every aspect of a student’s time at Stanford – as a central part of life on campus and in a curriculum that prepares students to be change-makers.
- Research: foundational and translational
- Scaling and partnering
- Educating: new programs and approaches
Proposal leads must be academic council faculty or medical center line faculty. The lead must submit the proposal.
Quarterly and final reports that outline project-specific progress, expenditures, and proposals for future work.
Our central challenge and opportunity is to now bring this vision to life. We seek proposals for work that can begin translating our aspirations into concrete, compelling advancements. Proposals may include funding to:
- Support the human resources needed to lead and staff development steps for advancements in sustainability.
- Engage faculty and the broader Stanford community in those efforts.
- Establish promising collaborations with partners on campus and outside.
We aim to fund a suite of projects that represent the full scope and ambition of the Sustainability Initiative – in education, research, and impact – as vivid first examples of what Stanford is setting out to do.
We will consider proposals for work to be completed in the next 12 months. We anticipate that most grants will be in the range of $25,000-$100,000, given the nature of the work to be done and our interest in using these funds to set a robust group of initiatives in motion. Although not inclusive, examples of potential topical areas for advancing sustainability research, education, and impact are listed in the graphic attached.
We have $1 million for initial funding to get important initiatives underway. We anticipate that additional funding will be available for a second proposal call in the next academic year, which will allow for larger, follow up grants to be considered.
We are particularly looking for new, large-scale collaborative efforts to advance these topics. We expect most proposals to serve as the initial phase for a more substantial project or initiative. Project descriptions and budget forecasts will be used by our Development team to help articulate the overall Sustainability Initiative budget request for the next campaign. By sharing your overall vision and budget, it will give us the context we need, as we award this initial funding, to set a robust group of initiatives in motion.