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About our Research

Research and education in the energy and environmental fields are becoming increasingly goal-oriented with clear objectives designed to improve the quality of life, promote human health and safety, create sustainable economic vitality, and enhance national security. Research investments are now frequently concentrated on the areas of greatest challenge, highest potential payback, and maximum benefit.

These challenges often require a multi-disciplinary or interdisciplinary approach that crosses the boundaries between the biological sciences, physics, chemistry, social sciences, economics, engineering, and policy-making. Such a perspective is equally applicable regardless of the scale of the problem, whether local, regional, national, or global in nature.

PSIEE promotes and facilitates research and education that is issue-oriented and provides natural and logical focal points for interaction and collaboration. We currently are revising our research theme priorities.

PSIEE Research Theme Strategic Planning Process

PSIEE desires a more focused, strategic, and transparent basis for our decision-making and investment across the wide range of research activities under the umbrella of energy and environment.  Following a meeting with our external advisory committee last fall, we initiated a strategic planning process in April of 2010 that is composed of four major steps:

  1. Development of four categories of investment priority (Global Leadership, Emerging, Supporting, and Other) to guide decision-making in the future. The definitions of investment categories were finalized during a strategic planning meeting in May 2010.
  2. Development of a list of candidate themes (see below), and the identification of appropriate authors of one-page briefs on each.  This step was also completed at the May 2010 meeting. As guidance on how much to aggregate research topics into themes, there was consensus that most themes should include between 10 and 50 faculty members.  Examples include climate science, energy sustainability, and watershed science.  A template for the theme briefs was also finalized.  These themes will be placed into investment priority categories in a future step (see below).
  3. Preparation of the theme one-page briefs by September 16, 2010; this activity is currently on-going.  The themes and the lead authors are listed below and we encourage all faculty members to take a look and contact lead authors if they are not already involved and wish to be.
  4. Sorting of theme areas into the four investment categories.  This will be done primarily by PSIEE’s Coordinating Council, but input from the larger community is welcome.  A notice in the PSIEE e-news following receipt of the theme briefs in September will provide information on how to provide input.

The process has already proven to be useful in its recognition and/or initiation of networks among faculty, as well as the picture that is emerging of major research activities.  We look forward to sharing the results of the process in a future PSIEE e-newsletter.

Theme Areas

  • Health and Environment (Perdew) – final submitted 8/27/2010
  • Polar Science (Alley/Post) – in progress
  • Climate Science (Alley/Mann) – final submitted 8/30/2010
  • Climate Science, Adaptation, and Policy (Keller) – final submitted 8/30/2010
  • Electricity Production and Delivery (Brenizer/Blumsack)
  • Energy Sustainability (Bruce Logan)
  • Spatial Sciences (Peuquet) – in progress
  • Watershed Science (Wardrop) – in progress
  • Coal-Utilization for fossil and renewable energy (Song)
  • Biogeochemical Cycles (Kaye/Macalady) – in progress
  • Water Science (Dempsey/Boyer) – in progress
  • Plant Sciences for Health, Energy, & Materials (Assman/ Guiltinan)
  • Behavioral Sciences for Health, Energy & Environment (Swim) – final submitted 8/27/2010
  • Methodology of Inter and Transdisciplinary Research (Becker) – in progress
  • Global Unconventional Gas Shales (Arthur/ Murphy) – final submitted 8/16/2010
  • Energy & Environment Policy (Keller/Blumsack/Kleit/Fisher-Vanden)
  • Critical Zone Science (Duffy/ Brantley) – final submitted 8/27/2010
  • CO2 Capture, Storage & Conversion (Mallouk/ Rioux/Song/ Mathews)
  • Solar Photoconversion (Mallouk/Brownson) – final submitted 8/13/2010
  • Fuel Cells (Mench)
  • Sustainability Science and Practice (Riley)
  • Efficient Buildings (Freihaut/Riley)
  • Batteries & Energy Storage (Wang/Lvov) – final submitted 8/26/2010
  • Bioenergy (Richard) – in progress
  • Industrial Ecology (Richard/Brownson)
  • Electrochemical Energy Science (Lvov)
  • The Built Environment (Human & Technical) (Srebric/Riley) – final submitted 8/29/2010

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