PITTSBURGH, April 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Carnegie Mellon University has received a $30 million gift from the Richard King Mellon Foundation to dramatically expand its strategic initiative to address energy research, education and innovation. The gift -- the largest private foundation grant in CMU's history -- will propel the Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation to coordinate university-wide activities with the overall goals of improving energy efficiency and developing new, clean, affordable and sustainable energy sources.
"We are deeply grateful to the Richard King Mellon Foundation for this generous gift," said CMU President Jared L. Cohon. "Developing sustainable energy solutions is of fundamental importance for America and the world, and this gift will play a key role in helping the university and the Scott Institute solve some of our most important energy challenges."
Funds from the gift will be used to support various energy research projects, faculty and student recruitment and construction of the Sherman and Joyce Bowie Scott Hall, which will house the Scott Institute. The gift follows the Richard King Mellon Foundation's previous record-setting $25 million grant to CMU in 2007 to fund life sciences initiatives.
Supporting teams of CMU engineers, scientists, economists, architects, policy specialists and others, the institute is tackling a range of issues, including developing more efficient energy solutions that reduce carbon emissions; smart grid technology to enable the use of large amounts of variable wind and solar power; and new advanced materials and processes to produce and store energy, increase efficiency and reduce waste. The institute was launched in September 2012.
"Carnegie Mellon's work in the energy sector is distinct because it combines technology with policy-focused research," said Scott Institute Director M. Granger Morgan, the Thomas Lord Professor of Engineering and head of CMU's Department of Engineering and Public Policy. "This approach allows us to create strategies that provide incentives to the private energy sector to advance reliable solutions with a minimal impact on the environment."
The announcement of the gift coincides with a CMU symposium today on shale gas and its implications for regional manufacturing. The event features a series of expert panel discussions, spanning industrial development, natural gas for transportation and environmental impacts. The symposium falls on the heels of the release of the Scott Institute's new policymaker's guide indicating the critical need for a government-university-industry research initiative focused on the issue of shale gas and environmental protection. CMU researchers visited Capitol Hill in March to encourage U.S. national, regional and state officials to establish the initiative.
About Carnegie Mellon University: Carnegie Mellon (www.cmu.edu) is a private, internationally ranked research university with programs in areas ranging from science, technology and business, to public policy, the humanities and the arts. More than 12,000 students in the university's seven schools and colleges benefit from a small student-to-faculty ratio and an education characterized by its focus on creating and implementing solutions for real problems, interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation. A global university, Carnegie Mellon's main campus in the United States is in Pittsburgh, Pa. It has campuses in California's Silicon Valley and Qatar, and programs in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and Mexico. The university is in the midst of "Inspire Innovation: The Campaign for Carnegie Mellon University," which aims to build its endowment, support faculty, students and innovative research, and enhance the physical campus with equipment and facility improvements.
SOURCE Carnegie Mellon University