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Centers and Institutes

Sustainable Futures Institute (SFI)


To create and disseminate new scientific knowledge and engineering products in support of sustainability research and education.

The Sustainable Futures Institute (SFI) will assimilate the multiple skills and capabilities required to support a new metadiscipline of sustainability science, including:

  • the fundamental physics, chemistry, biology, and mathematics needed for environmental assessment;
  • ecological economics, including sustainability criteria in economic input-output analysis;
  • industrial ecology and design at the process, plant, firm, regional, national, and global scale;
  • information technology for real-time monitoring of processes, remote sensing of the environment, and geographical information systems;
  • human and environmental impact modeling and risk assessment;
  • social and behavioral research tools, and
  • professional and K-through-gray educational programs, including assessment of their impacts on choices made by design engineers, policy makers, and consumers.

By advancing this metadisciplinary endeavor, the Institute will combine information and insights across multiple disciplines and perspectives.

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Advanced Sustainable Iron and Steel Center (ASISC)


To support research, education, and outreach in all disciplines related to sustainable iron and steel production.

The Center for Advanced Sustainable Iron and Steel Making investigates and develops novel, advanced methods for producing the 130 million tons of iron and steel needed annually by the US in a sustainable, environmentally-acceptable manner.

Although primary iron manufacture is a multi-billion dollar industry in the US, research in this area is very limited. Yet, we find that the industry is still largely based on outdated technologies (oftentimes, more than a century old), and as a result many of the current practices are highly polluting and unsustainable. There is tremendous room for improvement, but only if completely new paradigms are developed for metals reduction that are not based on the unsustainable, polluting, energy-inefficient methods of the past.

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Center for Fundamental and Applied Research in Nanostructured and Lightweight Materials (CNLM)


The mission of the Center is to foster collaborative research activities that lead to the synthesis and application of novel lightweight materials. New funding under the Center is expected to increase and then sustain these research activities. Collaborative efforts within the Center will be interdisciplinary across campus, and most will involve partner arrangements with off-campus experts and researchers. By supporting research projects that cross traditional departmental and disciplinary boundaries, the Center will advance knowledge and support the mission of the University.


The Center will promote fundamental and applied research in the development and testing of lightweight and nanostructured materials to be used in fuel cell and battery applications, chemical synthesis, and biomedical systems. New classes of lightweight materials engineered at the nanometer level are expected to have unique physical and chemical properties that can be exploited by engineers and scientists.

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Center for Environmentally Benign Functional Materials (CEBFM)


The mission of the Center for Environmentally Benign Functional Materials (CEBFM) is to increase and then sustain research activities surrounding the synthesis, characterization, and analysis of materials that are capable of performing multiple functions in a wide variety of applications.

CEBFM brings together researchers and will create a knowledge-base that can assist in further development of technologies for challenging applications critical to the growing technological needs of the US and the world. The Center will promote and foster an environment that will cross the traditional departmental and disciplinary boundaries to advance knowledge and support the overall mission of the University.

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