Our ultimate goal is to address a range of environmental challenges that are critical to the well-being of our society and planet.

Founded in 2007, InCEES (formerly I-CARES – the International Center for Advanced Renewable Energy & Sustainability) was designed to be a university-wide initiative that addressed the interdisciplinary challenges for faculty and staff working in these important areas. The Center originally provided seed funding for pilot projects, organized lecture series and climate-focused workshops, and supported large-scale sponsored research centers.

Now in its fourteenth year, and with a recent change in leadership, InCEES continues to work in close collaboration with leaders across disciplines, industry, and government to address the world’s most pressing energy, environmental, and sustainability issues.

Committed to Climate Change

The idea of establishing the Washington University Climate Change Program (WUCCP) was born in 2011 from an InCEES initiative called “Topics of Conversation.” Early conversation groups addressed climate change and building for the future of our cities.  These groups were small by design and met periodically to provide a forum for faculty from disparate disciplines, administrators, and community colleagues to discuss issues surrounding energy and sustainable development. 

This work led to the establishment of the Washington University Climate Change Initiative (WUCCI), which was led by Dr. Peter H. Raven, President Emeritus of the Missouri Botanical Garden and George Engelmann Professor of Botany Emeritus. Under Dr. Raven’s direction the initiative helped bring to campus a range of climate change events.

The initiative has now transitioned into the Washington University Climate Change Program and is currently coordinated by Beth Martin, interim-director and senior lecturer in Environmental Studies. The Program, funded by InCEES, draws together faculty, students, administrators, and community colleagues across disciplines to address common climate opportunities. WUCCP’s work is divided into three focus areas: outreachresearch and curricula.

WashU students speak with Sierra Club Executive Director, Michael Brune, after an InCEES sponsored event about climate change.

Building Resilient Cities

InCEES’ Resilient Cities initiative is a cross-school effort that actively engages with the St. Louis community around the critical and complex issues of environmental and social resiliency. These complicated problems require systems thinking and interdisciplinary teams to unravel them.  In addition to addressing community needs, we see this program as an additional boon for both our shared research and teaching. 

Based in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, this initiative brings together faculty from across campus, particularly Arts & Sciences, Brown School/Institute for Public Health, and the McKelvey School of Engineering.  Combining efforts provides our faculty with the experience of working together across disciplines and backgrounds (necessary to be competitive for substantial external funding). By connecting these collaborative efforts directly to the city, we believe that this project will provide a prominent venue to showcase not only transformative interdisciplinary collaborations at the university, but also our leadership in working to tackle some of St. Louis’ challenging environmental problems.

Current projects focus on the establishment of Peace Park in the College Hill neighborhood and engagement with the Great Rivers Greenway (GRG) Brickline Greenway project, particularly the north spur leading toward Fairground Park. By continuing to break down inter-school barriers, this work will help establish Washington University as a leader in truly transdisciplinary work.