TROY, N.Y., and CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Some American universities are now expanding their involvement in energy issues. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), for example, opened the Center for Future Energy Studies on its campus in Troy, N.Y., in early June. RPI created the new $20 million research center in partnership with Cornell University and the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Brookhaven National Laboratory, with a goal of meeting this century's energy challenges through energy conservation and renewable energy. In late June, RPI also launched a new $4.8 million interdisciplinary program to train doctoral students in fuel cell science and engineering.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is also preparing to take on the world's energy challenges, and has formed the Energy Research Council to help it do so. MIT Provost Robert Brown appointed the Energy Research Council to lead MIT's planning for an initiative in energy-related research and education. The new council will develop a picture of the current state of MIT energy-related research and expertise, create a list of promising science and engineering research areas that match global needs and MIT capabilities, and recommend an organizational structure that would facilitate work in these areas.

In addition, the California Clean Energy Fund is hoping to find a university in northern California with a similar vision toward the future. The fund - formed earlier this year with settlement money from the bankruptcy of Pacific Gas and Electric - intends to award a grant of $1 million to help establish and maintain a leading university center for energy efficiency.

Publication date: 07/25/2005