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Climate and Energy Challenge

Student on Bermuda coast
Off the Bermuda coast, undergraduate student deploys research instrument. (Photo: Daniel Sigman)

The Climate and Energy Challenge prepares Princeton students for the substantial transformation of the global climate and energy system that is certain to occur during their lifetimes.

The initiative capitalizes on the expertise of faculty in the science, engineering, and policy disciplines to seek solutions for a resource-limited and carbon-constrained world.


The Climate and Energy Challenge research projects tackle challenges in climate dynamics, the impacts of global change on the Earth's ecosystems, alternative energy, and energy efficiency. Funded projects involve faculty from numerous departments across campus. Significant research advances to date include the discovery of fundamental controls on the ocean biosphere that will shape its response to climate change, the demonstration of band-gap engineering in nickel and manganese oxides for use in solar cells; and the development of optimization techniques to increase data center efficiency. more >>


Each semester, the Climate and Energy Challenge publishes a Courses of Interest list to help students identify opportunities to expand their knowledge and perspective on dimensions of the energy and climate problem. In the aggregate, there are nearly 190 courses that touch upon the themes of the Climate and Energy Challenge and as many as 30 that are a direct outgrowth of Grand Challenges research. more >>


Innovations in academic programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels provide a transformative educational experience and prepare Princeton students to create a new energy future. The Climate and Energy Challenge offers Princeton undergraduates a unique opportunity to complement their academic interests in climate and energy with hands-on, engaging, internship opportunities including independent research and project experiences through the summer months. more >>

Senior Thesis Research Support

The Climate and Energy Challenge provides generous funding to support independent field research pursued as preparation for students’ senior theses with connections to energy and climate themes. Applications for Grand Challenges senior thesis research support are coordinated through the funding portal located on the Dean of the College’s website with Grand Challenges awards made during both spring and fall award cycles. more >>

Princeton Energy and Climate Scholars (PECS)

The Princeton Energy and Climate Scholars (PECS) brings together a select group of highly talented and engaged Princeton Ph.D. students with research expertise ranging from energy security and technology to climate science and policy. more >>

Outreach and Collaboration

To raise awareness of climate and energy issues on campus and among the broader public, the Climate and Energy Challenge produces lecture series featuring faculty and guest lecturers from academia, government, industry, and NGOs. Recordings of previous lectures are available online. more >>

Energy Challenge Faculty and Administration

Faculty working on Climate and Energy Challenge projects hail from 16 different departments, including:

The Climate and Energy Challenge also works to enhance collaborations with members of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) and the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) to enhance the undergraduate curriculum and faculty research.  Funding for the Climate and Energy Challenge has been generously provided by the Thomas and Stacey Siebel Foundation.