Recently, sixty-five faculty and professional staff participated in a workshop to build a UMass Energy Transition Initiative (ETI) Institute. The interactive workshop, produced with support from the Office of Research and Development’s Investigator-Initiated Workshops program, involved participants from 36 departments and units across eight colleges and schools. This inaugural workshop brought together people with a common interest in the energy transition; generated ideas; and explored connections and synergies on the topic of transitioning to a clean, low carbon, equitable and just energy system.
The ETI planning team at UMass wishes to enhance growing interest in renewable energy by bringing together the many UMass faculty engaged in energy-related research to support a transition. Ultimately, the team – which includes Erin Baker and Matt Lackner from the College of Engineering, Mark Tuominen, Alison Bates, and Dwayne Breger from the College of Natural Sciences, Prashant Shenoy and Mohammad Hajiesmaili from the College of Information and Computer Sciences, Michael Ash from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Mary Fechner from the Office of Research Development – envisions the development of a UMass Energy Transition Institute. The ETI will draw on strengths across campus in sciences, engineering, social sciences, policy, arts and humanities, business and entrepreneurship, among others. A commitment to social justice is one of the ETI’s core values.
The ETI planning team will host a follow-up workshop on Thursday, Oct. 31. In that workshop, participants will delve more deeply into connections and synergies on the theme of the energy transition and work together to better understand and build capacity on convergence research. The National Science Foundation defines convergence research as research that is driven by a specific and compelling problem, and requires deep integration across disciplines. Going forward, the group plans to further refine and strengthen the case for UMass Amherst leadership on energy transition by soliciting feedback on this theme and our research questions from external stakeholders in industry, government and nongovernmental organizations.
To date, more than 120 people have expressed interest in the ETI. To learn more about the ETI effort, how to participate in the upcoming workshop and to be added to the mailing list, complete an interest form.