ASU research has purpose and impact.

Arizona State University conducts use-inspired research, developing practical solutions to some of the most pressing environmental, economic, and social challenges of sustainability, especially as they relate to urban areas.

The Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability research is transdisciplinary, bringing together multiple disciplines and leaders to create and share knowledge.

View all ASU Sustainability Research

Sustainability Research Themes

Sustainability Expert Search

LightWorks

Since its inception, LightWorks has provided solutions to the world’s most pressing global energy challenges through a simple idea: energy from sunlight. ASU LightWorks discovers and invents energy solutions to the world’s fuel, electric and social challenges.

LightWorks pulls light-inspired research at Arizona State University under one strategic framework. It is a multidisciplinary effort to leverage ASU’s unique strengths, particularly in renewable energy fields including artificial photosynthesis, biofuels and next-generation photovoltaics.

The LightWorks initiative brings together a broad spectrum of expertise and resources from the university and external partners to revolutionize the use of energy and the large-scale conversion of sunlight, carbon dioxide and water into useful products.

asulightworks.com


Food Systems Transformation

Food Systems Transformation

This initiative connects community partners – to ASU and to each other – and supports them through solutions-focused, transdisciplinary research. The goal of the initiative is to create more equitable, diverse and resilient food systems.

foodsystems.asu.edu


Biomimicry Center at ASU

Biomimicry Center at ASU

This center brings together biologists, designers, engineers, business professionals, communicators, material scientists, chemists and others to address sustainability challenges using strategies inspired by nature. This center’s education and research programs create solutions by emulating biological forms and strategies.

biomimicry.asu.edu


UREx Sustainability Resilience Network

UREx Sustainability Resilience Network

The Urban Resilience to Extremes Sustainability Research Network (UREx SRN) focuses on integrating social, ecological, and technical systems to devise, analyze, and support urban infrastructure decisions in the face of climatic uncertainty to conceptualize and analyze infrastructure decisions

urbanresilience.asu.edu

Central Arizona—Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research

The Central Arizona–Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research (CAP LTER) program advances research and education on urban ecology and urban socioecological systems. Launched in 1997, it is one of two LTER sites funded by the National Science Foundation that specifically studies urban ecology. In total, there are 24 NSF-sponsored LTER sites.

CAP LTER researchers investigate the urban socioecological system in a metropolitan area that includes the nation’s sixth largest city, Phoenix. Biological, physical, engineering and social scientists conduct research to provide an understanding of sustainability in an arid, rapidly growing metropolitan area.

Educating the next generation of urban ecologists is a core mission of CAP LTER. The Ecology Explorers program engages K-12 students and teachers, while undergraduate and graduate students are active researchers whose work is published in leading scientific publications.

caplter.asu.edu


National Center of Excellence on SMART Innovations

National Center of Excellence on SMART Innovations

This center’s research seeks to quantify complex climate-energy system interactions throughout all phases of a product or technology’s life cycle and to develop cost-effective solutions to reduce any negative impacts to industries around the globe.

ncesmart.asu.edu


Kyl Center for Water Policy

Kyl Center for Water Policy

A unit of the Morrison Institute for Public Policy led by Sarah Porter, the Kyl Center promotes research, analysis, collaboration and open dialogue to identify opportunities for consensus to ensure sound water stewardship for Arizona and the Western region for generations to come.

morrisoninstitute.asu.edu


Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology

Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology

Researchers combine engineering with microbiology and chemistry to understand how microbial ecosystems work and can be optimized to generate new sources of clean, renewable energy and improve public health and sustainability.

environmentalbiotechnology.org

Decision Center for a Desert City

The Decision Center for a Desert City advances scientific understanding of environmental decision-making under conditions of uncertainty. Established in 2004, DCDC conducts climate, water and decision research and develops innovative tools to bridge the boundary between scientists and decision-makers.

With a focus on water sustainability and urban climate adaptation, DCDC researchers work to develop and implement decision-support processes for environmental decision-making. Through an integrated approach to research and education, DCDC trains a new generation of scientists who work successfully at the boundaries of science and policy and builds bridges between science and policy to foster local-to-global sustainability solutions.

Reaching out to communities of students, educators, public and private agencies and elected officials is vital to the center’s mission of linking science and societal action. Outreach enriches research efforts and provides valuable experiences for students.

dcdc.asu.edu


Institute for Humanities Research

Institute for Humanities Research

Since 2007, the IHR has been supporting scholars working across disciplinary lines to articulate the role of the humanities in environmental issues. Humanists focus on ideas, values, language, culture and history to understand humans’ beliefs about their relationship to nature and inform human policy and development toward a responsible, sustainable future.

ihr.asu.edu


Center for Biosocial Complex Systems

Center for Biosocial Complex Systems

A partnership of ASU and the Santa Fe Institute co-directed by Sander van der Leeuw and Manfred Laubichler, this center advances understanding of problems that span biological and social systems and is poised to become a major international incubator of solution-driven transdisciplinary research.