The Atkinson Center supports a suite of multidisciplinary research activities for faculty, postdocs, and graduate students. The annual Academic Venture Fund is the Atkinson Center's incubator for the next generation of sustainable solutions. The Rapid Response Fund supports mini-grants with a quick turnaround. The faculty-in-residence fellowship supports research in the social sciences, humanities, and arts—areas often left out of the sustainability dialogue. A postdoctoral program links research with external partners to solve specific, immediate questions with on-the-ground application.
Our research builds upon the three Es—energy, environment, and economic development. Climate change and equity are overarching challenges that add urgency to the need for an integrated approach, expansive ideas, and workable solutions.
The faculty directors guide our research programs. They connect Cornell faculty across disciplines to address global challenges that can't be compartmentalized by academic department or methodology. The faculty directors also lead our programs with external partners.
Moving to a renewable energy economy while promoting more efficient energy use are keys to a sustainable future and a prosperous future for humans and planet. The Atkinson Center invests in seed ideas, new technologies, and novel approaches. Todd Cowen connects faculty from diverse colleges and disciplines. He also works with companies, such as NYSEG's parent company Avangrid, to foster energy smart communities.
The Atkinson Center is meeting the global imperative for vibrant, robust societies matched with healthy ecosystems, biodiversity, sustainable use of land and resources in an era of climate change. Alex Travis leads the collaborations with Environmental Defense Fund and the Smithsonian, two organizations similarly committed to building a better world.
The core goal of economic development is to promote resilient livelihoods and generate sustainable development pathways around the world. The Atkinson Center has seeded research in over 40 countries, with food security and eco-agriculture a primary focus at home and abroad. Kieran Donaghy leads the collaborations with the Nature Conservancy, Oxfam, and CARE.
In our strategic plan, we identified six focus areas as priorities for a sustainable future. These areas match Cornell strength and expertise.