The Environmental Innovations Initiative (EII) will be designed to bring together researchers, scholars and students to develop new ideas and innovative solutions for our global environment. It will maximize Penn’s distinctive interdisciplinary strengths, building collaborations across disciplines and creating a catalyst to spur new areas of inquiry. In so doing, it will complement our ongoing initiatives, including most recently the Vagelos Institute for Energy Science and Technology, founded in 2016; the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy, founded in 2014; and the Penn Program in Environmental Humanities, also founded in 2014. In particular, the new Initiative will be charged to:

  • Facilitate innovative research that maximizes Penn’s distinctive interdisciplinary strengths, within and between schools, centers, graduate groups and departments;
  • Recruit outstanding faculty members whose new perspectives advance the University’s work across such areas as climate change, sustainability and environmental justice;
  • Develop formal and informal educational programs, as well as public events and communications, that further the impact of Penn research and bring new solutions to our campus and a wider global community.

The EII will be led by two of our most distinguished faculty members in this area: Joseph S. Francisco, President’s Distinguished Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences, and Kathleen D. Morrison, Sally and Alvin V. Shoemaker Professor and Chair of Anthropology. They will work closely with existing partners across the University and lead an international search next semester for the initiative’s inaugural executive director. In the coming week, they will communicate with all Penn faculty members with more information about the Initiative and how to get involved with it. This work will ultimately include seed money and logistical support for faculty research, conferences and other major public events and interdisciplinary working groups with a significant role for students.

Announced December 10, 2019

For more information on the Environmental Innovations Initiative, please visit the EII website.