Sustainability scholarship embodies the belief that human thriving requires social systems, economic systems, and biodiverse ecosystems that equitably serve humanity now and in the future. It is committed to the idea that satisfying the needs of humans today should not come at the expense of satisfying the needs of future human generations. Transformational societal change at all scales is required and is as dependent on imagination and changes in attitudes, policies, and institutions as on technological discoveries.

Sustainability scholarship is inherently applied and interdisciplinary, requiring interactions of researchers from the social sciences, natural sciences, humanities, the arts, law, and business. It occupies the intersection of intellectual grand challenges and application—the realm of research often described as Pasteur’s Quadrant. Research questions may often come from public and private decision-makers who desire research-based guidance.

With creative deployment of additional resources and enhanced institutional practices and programs, Cornell is achieving preeminence as the originator of breakthrough sustainability scholarship, and the leading university in contributing to local to global sustainability solutions in practice.

The Charge

Following the task force’s 2017 strategic plan to the provost, Cornell is committed to increase the large-scale, long-term impact of Cornell research on public opinion, corporate products and practices, and government policies. To accomplish this, Cornell is:

  • prioritizing research consistent with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs);
  • hiring eight prominent faculty members across multiple disciplines;
  • hiring two new prominent senior staff with experience in knowledge-to-impact research;
  • enhancing training of the next generation of sustainability scholars and professionals; and
  • creating infrastructure within the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability to foster interdisciplinary research programs co-created by Cornell faculty, Cornell senior staff, and representatives of non-academic organizations (e.g., NGOs, foundations, corporations, government agencies).

Coordinating Committee

Name Title
Christy Goodale Frank H.T. Rhodes Professor of Environmental Science, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Cathy Kling Tisch University Professor, The Dyson School, SC Johnson College of Business
Johannes Lehmann Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor, School of Integrated Plant Science
David Lodge (chair) Francis J. DiSalvo Director, Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability
Rich Stedman Professor and Chair, Department of Natural Resources and the Environment
Daryl Nydam Professor, Department of Public & Ecosystem Health
Max Zhang Professor, Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

More Information