Gift offers faculty funding for efforts to slash emissions


A $5 million gift from anonymous donors has established the Graham Sustainability Institute’s new Carbon Neutrality Acceleration Program, a multiyear, multimillion-dollar program to support high-impact faculty research that will dramatically reduce carbon emissions.


All U-M faculty are eligible to apply for funding for carbon neutrality projects with the potential to effect real change in the world.

An initial round of $1.5 million in funding will support project grants of up to $300,000 during 2021 and 2022. The request for proposals opened July 17.

The new program, which emphasizes innovation, implementation and scalability, will complement the work of the President’s Commission on Carbon Neutrality and decarbonizing research underway across campus.

“Our quest to achieve carbon neutrality seeks to tap into the ambition, creativity and expertise of faculty across the breadth of our university,” said President Mark Schlissel. “Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we have an important opportunity to help us produce the innovative solutions that will address human-influenced global climate change.”

Researchers across the university are already working to advance knowledge around a diversity of strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, from renewable energy to carbon capture and sequestration, transportation, materials development, agriculture, data science and more.

At the same time, communities, institutions including U-M, businesses and governments are pursuing carbon-reduction initiatives. The program’s goal is to amplify U-M’s efforts and seize these opportunities to move new knowledge to action.

“The Graham Institute is well-versed in bringing the work of U-M researchers to the communities and decision-makers that can benefit from it, and much of our focus is on facilitating the transition to a low-carbon future,” said Graham Director Jennifer Haverkamp. “The new Carbon Neutrality Acceleration Program is designed to leverage our network, our process, and the strength of our research community to achieve unprecedented impact.”

The program offers a unique opportunity to support faculty who are new to carbon neutrality or who want to explore significantly different directions in their research. The program also supports projects likely to produce new insights revealed through interdisciplinary collaboration and novel interventions co-created by scholars and practitioners.


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