Research Collaborations and Outreach
PEI’s established interdisciplinary research centers are committed to the dissemination of research findings so they may benefit the larger scientific community, government, industry and general public. Researchers frequently present at national and international conferences and participate in public outreach events.
One notable example of PEI’s research outreach efforts is the development of the Stabilization Wedges game on the Carbon Mitigation Initiative (CMI) website. The 2004 Science article by Pacala and Socolow “Stabilization Wedges: Solving the Climate Problem for the Next 50 Years with Current Technologies” has been cited over 300 times in peer-reviewed science and policy literature.
PEI collaborates directly with academic departments and programs across campus to develop a rich curriculum of cross-listed courses. The Environmental (ENV) Studies Program at PEI is responsive to the growing demand for courses focused on emerging themes in environmental research, both at the undergraduate and graduate level.
Through the Grand Challenges Initiative and in partnership with faculty, campus and community affiliates, PEI organizes and operates an extensive summer internship program designed to foster experiential learning that complements undergraduate classroom teachings. Annually, over 100 Princeton students participate in the PEI/Grand Challenges internship program.
Campus and community partners participating in the summer internship program include the Princeton in Asia program (PIA), PACE Center, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL), and Mid-Infrared Technologies for Health and the Environment program (MIRTHE). PEI is the primary supporter of Princeton Chapter of Engineers Without Borders. PEI fosters additional hands-on learning opportunities and supports senior thesis field related projects and semester field programs in Bermuda at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS) and in Kenya at the Mpala Research Center.
Collaborations with the Humanities
PEI has paid special attention to developing collaborations between the environmental sciences, the humanities and social sciences at Princeton. Examples of collaborations include the 2006 two-day conference “Food, Ethics, and the Environment,” co-sponsored by the University Center for Human Values (UCHV), the 2008 two-day conference “A Different Shade of Green: Race, Place, and Environmental Justice,” co-sponsored by the Center for African American Studies (CAAS) and more recently the 2010 collaborative project between PEI, the Lewis Center for the Arts and the Civilians entitled The Great Immensity.
Through the generosity of Currie C. and Thomas A. Barron ’74, PEI established The Currie C. and Thomas A. Barron Visiting Professor in the Environment and the Humanities in 2003. This gift has enabled PEI to host accomplished humanists whose interests lie at the intersection of the humanities and the environment.
Grand Challenges Initiative
In 2007, the Princeton Environmental Institute, the Woodrow Wilson School and the School of Engineering and Applied Science launched the Grand Challenges initiative, an integrated research and teaching program designed to promote student involvement and faculty research on complex global environmental issues with scientific, technological and policy dimensions.
Other Campus Collaborations
PEI actively partners with students and other campus affiliates and organizations to support forums, visiting lecturers, film series and other activities that contribute to dialogue and insight around environmental topics. Examples of campus collaborations include the Environmental Affairs Forum, Mathey College Energy Table, Greening Princeton Farmer’s Market (Relating article), Forbes College Garden Project (Relating article), and breakout civic action trips with the Pace Center. PEI also works together with the Outdoor Action Program, Princeton Dining Services, Princeton-Blairstown Center (PBC) and Office of Sustainability to raise awareness around environmental sustainability issues at Princeton.
Alumni and Community Collaborations
PEI partners with alumni and community organizations that share common interests in environmental sustainability on a local and global level. In the spring of 2010 for example, PEI fostered environmental entrepreneurship among Princeton University undergraduate and graduate students by developing the Princeton Class ’76 Green Business Plan Competition. This project was a partnership between PEI, the Princeton University Class of 1976, Pace Center and Keller Center for Innovation in Engineering Education.
PEI seeks opportunities to work with like-minded community partners to develop innovative programming and educational opportunities that benefit the extended University community and the community at large.