I2SL University Alliance Group (UAG)

Bringing Efficiency to Research (BETR) Grants
2016 Greening Grants Meeting Webpage
2015 Greening Grants Meeting Webpage

University Lead: Kathryn Ramirez-Aguilar, Green Labs Program Manager, University of Colorado-Boulder

Coordinated by: University of Colorado-Boulder and I2SL

Group Purpose

To work with I2SL to better address the issues, concerns, and ideas related to sustainability at academic research institutions and to serve as an avenue to consolidate and communicate these items through a unified front in an effort to motivate changes to systems that can improve the energy and environmental sustainability of academic research institutions. 

Present Focus of Group

Connecting sustainability to federally supported research at universities where the goals are to gather information, learn, and raise awareness about places in the system where connections between funding of research and sustainability are lacking and to find ways that this group can help influence change by working in a collaborative and cooperative manner with stakeholders, including federal agencies.

University Participants

  • Rob Cinq-Mars, University of New Hampshire
  • Allen Doyle, University of California-Davis
  • Amorette Getty, University of California-Santa Barbara
  • Quentin Gilly, Harvard University
  • Shannon Horn, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Rick Martorano, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, ASU
  • Brenda Petrella, Dartmouth
  • Kathryn Ramirez-Aguilar, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Sudhakar Reddy, University of Michigan
  • Star Scott, University of Georgia
  • Shane Stennes, University of Minnesota
  • Susan Vargas, Stanford
  • Kelly Weisinger, Emory University & Emory Healthcare

Federal and Nonprofit Collaborators

  • Jerry Davis, NREL
  • Allison Paradise, My Green Lab
  • Otto Van Geet, NREL

Get Involved

This working group includes members of universities interested in helping to identify and develop solutions to key issues in the academic research sector for energy-efficient and environmentally-sustainable laboratories and related high-technology facilities. The group meets by webinar and face to face at the I2SL Annual Conference. UAG members are also encouraged to become familiar with the I2SL Laboratory Continuous Performance Improvement Program (LCPIP) working group.

If you are interested in joining the UAG, please contact I2SL.

Working Group Activities

  • In October 2016, the group had a conference call to review and discuss changes of a draft document titled "Voluntarily including language about actions for efficiency in federal grant proposals."
  • At the September 2016 I2SL Annual Conference, there was a face-to-face working group meeting of the UAG. The group focused planning for creating a document that could be shared with scientists, research administrators, etc. at our university campuses to encourage incorporating information voluntarily into grant proposals on actions for efficiency with federal funding and resources (such as equipment sharing, space efficiency, energy efficient equipment/processes, etc.)
  • On May 10th 2016, at the 2016 DOE Better Buildings Summit in Washington, D.C., a half-day meeting was held on "Greening Grants" which the UAG helped organize. This meeting was focused on gathering input from scientists on the topic of Greening Grants. Attendees included a mix of representatives from universities, federal agencies, and non-profit organizations. Presentations, notes, and other information can be viewed at the 2016 GREENING GRANTS MEETING WEBPAGE.
  • On April 14th, 2016, Kathy Ramirez-Aguilar gave an I2SL webinar titled "Greening Grants: Connecting Sustainability and Efficiency to Federal Research Funding for Universities." Slides from the webinar are available for viewing. I2SL members can listen to a recording of the webinar.
  • Monthly conference call meetings of the UAG continued through the latter half of 2015 and first half of 2016.
  • At the September 2015 I2SL Conference, Kathy Ramirez-Aguilar gave a presentation at the I2SL conference titled "Connecting Sustainability with Research Funding: Why is there a need, who's taking action, and what will be the benefits?"
  • At the September 2015 I2SL Conference, there was a face-to-face working group meeting of the UAG. Some action items discussed were working to gather greater input from scientists on the topic of Greening Grants and working with our campuses to voluntarily have language incorporated into grant proposals reflecting actions that labs are taking for efficiency (of benefit to conservation of resources and effective, efficient use of federal dollars), similar to what UC-Santa Barbara is doing.
  • On May 29, 2015, at the 2015 DOE Better Buildings Summit in Washington, D.C., a half-day meeting was held on "Greening Grants" which the UAG helped organize. Federal employee and university representatives attended the meeting, which included presentations and discussion. Presentations, notes, and other information can be viewed at the 2015 GREENING GRANTS MEETING WEBPAGE.
  • On May 17, 2015, in response to NIH’s request for information on "Optimizing Funding Policies and Other Strategies to Improve the Impact and Sustainability of Biomedical Research" Notice Number: NOT-OD-15-084, five members of the UAG submitted comments. View the submitted comments.
  • Susan Vargas, an energy manager with Stanford University and an active member of the I2SL University Alliance Group, was voted onto the I2SL Board of Directors at the Spring 2015 board meeting. Many thanks to Susan for being a university representative on the I2SL Board of Directors and serving as a link between the UAG and the board. View the I2SL Board of Directors.
  • In March 2015, the group had a conference call to discuss university representation on the I2SL board of directors including preferred qualities. The group is encouraged to nominate university candidates by sending resumes to I2SL. View the meeting notes.
  • In February 2015, the group had a conference call to discuss ideas for the next I2SL conference in Sept 2015 and the upcoming May 29th meeting at the DOE Better Buildings Summit in Washington, DC, focused on Greening Grants. View the meeting notes.
  • On September 23, 2014 from 5p.m. - 6:30 p.m. EDT, there was an in-person meeting of the group at the 2014 I2SL Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida.
  • On September 12, 2014, the group had a webinar meeting with representatives from various federal agencies to explore the topic of connecting sustainability to research funding at universities, share ideas, gain an understanding of the federal perspective, and to see if there are ways that the UAG can work together with federal agencies on this topic in a cooperative, collaborative manner. View the meeting notes and presentation.
  • In August 2014, a second webinar was held with the group where we explored ideas for connecting sustainability to the funding of research at universities and items to discuss during the September 2014 webinar call with federal agency representatives. View the meeting notes.
  • In July 2014, many members of the group attended a DOE webinar where two winning university student teams that participated in the 2014 DOE Better Buildings Case Competition, “Experimenting with Efficiency: Greening the Granting Process for Research Institutions,” presented their solutions for connecting sustainability to federal funding of research on university campuses. (A link to a recording of the webinar will be posted once generated by DOE).
  • The group was formed in spring 2014 and conducted its first webinar meeting in June 2014 where background information was presented on missing connections between sustainability and research funding at universities. The meeting also focused on some initial signs of action from the federal government to address this issue. View the meeting notes.
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