Washington University is reducing its environmental impact while developing new research and initiatives aimed at forging a more sustainable future.

Himadri Pakrasi of ICARES holds a beaker to the light. He researches cyanobacteria.

University faculty, staff, and students collaborate on a variety of academic endeavors that contribute to rapid progress in addressing the major environmental and public health challenges facing our planet. Learn more about our sustainability research and educational initiatives below.



International Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainability (InCEES) encourages and coordinates institutional, regional, and international research on the development and production of biofuels from plant and microbial systems and the exploration of sustainable alternative energy and environmental systems and practices. Research at the center also focuses on the region’s important coal resources and efforts to mitigate carbon dioxide accumulation, improve combustion processes and reduce emissions.


The McDonnell Academy Global Energy and Environment Partnership (MAGEEP) is a consortium of 28 universities and corporate partners working together in energy, environmental and sustainability research, education, and operations. Members promote collaborative projects with seed funding and exchange ideas and best practices via international symposia. Pratim Biswas is Chair of the Energy, Environmental and Chemical Engineering Department and Director of MAGEEP for WashU.

Tyson Research Center

Tyson Research Center is the university’s 2000-acre ecological field station, located 30 minutes west of the Danforth Campus.  The largely forested campus includes dozens of buildings and site lighting that draw electricity from the grid.  With the 2014 addition of a 50 kilowatt ground-mounted solar array, the entire Tyson campus is one-third of the way to being net-zero energy, earning recognition by the EPA’s Green Power Partnership. Tyson has a long track record of excellence in sustainable operations, with the first Living Building Challenge-certified building in the world, the university’s only geothermal system, and a new 20,000-gallon rain water harvesting system added in 2014. The new solar array brings the Tyson campus’s total to 73 kw of solar PV.

Urban Vitality and Ecology Initiative

The City of St. Louis Urban Vitality & Ecology (UVE) initiative was launched in partnership with the Missouri Department of Conservation and Missouri Botanical Garden in 2013 to advance objectives in the City of St. Louis Sustainability Plan, and the Mayor’s Sustainability Action Agenda of priority implementation items.

In attempting to achieve short and long term goals to connect people with urban natural resources, the UVE initiative will attempt to use a process that engages our diverse community, promotes equity and aligns with stakeholder priorities.

Immediate Goal: Collaboratively develop and implement a community-based pilot project to test process and techniques.

Near-Term Goal: Work with stakeholders to create and maintain an urban natural resources/biodiversity inventory and atlas that reflect current natural assets and future opportunities to enhance, expand and access them.

Long-Range Goal: Develop a citywide Urban Vitality & Ecology Strategic Action Plan that provides the basis for well-informed policy modifications and community-based decisions, strategically prioritizes both redevelopment and key natural resource opportunities, and identifies actionable items for implementation.

 Are you interested in finding funding for a research project or connecting with others who are doing interdisciplinary research?