Purdue's Institute for a Sustainable Future

September 7, 2022
Dear friends -  

We are happy to be able to formally announce to you all that the hard work and contributions of so many of our members over the last 8 months have come to fruition as Purdue University’s Board of Trustees formally approved the creation of the Institute for a Sustainable Future (ISF) on August 12, 2022.  In this special issue, we provide information about the structure of our new institute, our first round of research communities and special initiatives, and our first round of leaders.

Personally, I invite you all to get involved, participate, and help make the Institute a success.

- Matthew Huber
Results of Spring Discussions
In spring 2022, remaining staff from Purdue’s Center for the Environment (Jennifer Freeman, Interim Director; Lynne Dahmen, Managing Director; Robby Teas, Operations Manager) and Purdue Climate Change Research Center (Cindy Fate, admin) worked with new Director, Matt Huber, to help organize multiple events and held numerous conversations about what the new institute would look like. The overall goal was to make sure the needs and activities of members from all the centers were supported during the transition while the team provided numerous ways that individuals and groups could provide ideas and feedback about what the new institute should and could achieve.  This happened through dozens of one-on-one and small group discussions, online surveys, and two types of visioning sessions run by outside consulting group, TDI. Based on those discussions, and drawing on the long history of the various centers, the leadership team and staff have laid out a structure that establishes research communities, special initiatives, and strategic research teams as structural mechanisms to facilitate faculty success. 
Institute Structure
Research Communities: At a Glance

The institute’s initial research communities reflect persistent interests of the faculty and draw on previous groups active in C4E and PCCRC while looking forward to new communities emerging in the near future.

A central question this research community poses is: how can we meet the needs of people while sustaining the diversity of plants, animals and microbes that we depend on?  Areas of interest include: biodiversity in a global context; biodiversity and climate change; big data & environmental sensing; promoting population stability, health and growth.

**The Biodiversity RC is holding a callout lunch meeting on Tuesday September 13, 12:00 - 1:30 PM in LILY G456. All are welcome to attend. More information/RSVP here.
Climate & Weather

Faculty across many departments at Purdue pursue research on issues of climate change in a myriad of ways; some key topics this research community pursues include: heat stress and weather impacts; climate change and biodiversity; public health; climate smart agriculture; climate action and environmental justice.
Environmental Stressors

The members of this research community seek to better understand the human and environmental consequences of contaminants and stressors. Members pursue work in topics that include:  toxicology via various chemical, air and soil contaminants; public health; the fate and transport of chemical contaminants; development of novel remediation technologies; communication of scientific risks.

**The Environmental Stressors RC is holding a callout lunch meeting on Thursday September 30, 12:00 - 1:30 PM in MANN 203. All are welcome to attend.
Sustainable Communities

People are at the center of environmental challenges and solutions. Members of this research community identify equitable and effective solutions for addressing global environmental change. They focus on several overlapping areas that include: decision making and governance; human behavior, values and cultural norms; critical infrastructure systems; complex social-ecological systems and dynamics; and participatory research designs.

**The Sustainable Communities RC is holding a callout meeting on Wednesday September 28, 4:00 - 5:00 PM in BRNG 1222. All are welcome to attend.
Water Challenges

The mission of the Water Challenges research community is to foster connections across campus and around the world to facilitate interdisciplinary research that helps communities solve their water challenges. Within the community, there are several areas of interest including: water management; human dimensions of water; urban water systems; Great Lakes water; ecological restoration; and water and energy.
Leadership Breakdown

See below for a brief summary of our new leadership team.
Let's Celebrate!

Sept 21 | 4:30 - 6:00 PM | Discovery Hall of Learning & Research (DLR)
Join us on Wednesday September 21 at 4:30 PM in Discovery Hall of Learning and Research (DLR) room 131 for a reception celebrating the launch of Purdue's Institute for a Sustainable Future (ISF). Food and beverages will be provided, and both EVPRP Theresa Mayer and ISF Director Matthew Huber will speak. We hope to see you there! Please RSVP here.
What to Expect: Fall 2022
Keep your eyes on our weekly newsletters to keep up to date on events, accomplishments and upcoming funding opportunities.  There will be regular meetings, open to all faculty and organized by research communities and special initiative groups, throughout the semester in addition to research presentations, lectures and conferences.  Already on the books for this semester are the Midwest Climate Workshop at Purdue, a proposal development workshop and talk by author Ruth Mostern in October. For more information, contact Lynne Dahmen at 
Should I Still Affiliate My Grants?
Currently, there have been no changes to the Proposal Submission form used by SPS.  Therefore, you can continue to affiliate your proposals following the directions here, and by selecting C4E, PCCRC or GFS affiliations, though please make sure you mark the center on the first page and provide percentage credit on page 4 of the form (remember, this does not impact departmental credit at all).  This process allows us to follow the research are members are developing as well as recognize efforts when they succeed. This also makes it easier for us to help develop and support larger research teams and efforts. 
Becoming a Member
We understand that many members of the institute may not have a clear ‘home’ in the current communities and initiatives.  However, there is still a high value add for actively participating in Institute events, affiliating your research and getting to know other members.  By affiliating, attending and reading weekly updates, members have access to information and opportunities that are tailored to their interest in sustainability research.  By reaching out the institute staff, members can get feedback on their own research trajectories and receive help in reaching out to develop research teams.  By meeting with others, members can also work to develop new initiatives with colleagues on campus.

If you are interested in becoming a member, fill out this online questionnaire. If you have any questions, please email us at
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