Academics and Research


Definition of Sustainabiltiy Research at UW-Whitewater

The UW-Whitewater Sustainability Council has adopted a definition of sustainability in research to identify efforts in all research centers, laboratories, departments, and faculty members whose research focuses on or is related to sustainability.  The following definition can be used as a guideline for qualifying sustainability research:

The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater's Sustainability Council, which includes at least three faculty members from different departments who conduct research, developed the following definition of sustainability research: 

  • Sustainability is defined by the Bruntland Commission as "the ability to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." This is achieved through a focus on the three key principles of sustainability: environmental stewardship, economic opportunity, and social equity.

  • Sustainability research can focus on one or more key principles or concepts of sustainability, offer a practical solution to real-world socioeconomic and environmental challenges (such as climate change or poverty), or further our understanding of the interconnectedness of societal and environmental challenges. Sustainability research leads toward solutions that support environmental stewardship, economic opportunity, and/or social equity.

Incentives for Sustainability Research

The Undergraduate Research Program (URP) invites applications for a ten-week mentored summer research grant. Up to 15 fellowships will be awarded with stipends of $3,500.  In addition, up to $500 in funding is available for supplies, services and travel expenses. Mentors of selected research fellows will receive a summer stipend of $2,500.

Interdisciplinary projects that consider the intersecting roles of diversity and sustainability are particularly encouraged. For example, projects may explore how environmental stressors (such as climate change, fracking, mining, chemical pollutants, etc.) disproportionately impact vulnerable populations or how vulnerable communities are rallying to creatively seek solutions. Such projects may receive additional support (e.g., in the form of increased mentor stipend, research budget, etc.) from the College of Letters and Sciences, pending approval from the Dean and commitment to present project results at the Fall 2015 Diversity Forum.

Examples of Sustainability Research

We are currently conducting an initial inventory of current research efforts. If you are conducting research that you feel can be highlighted here, please contact us.

Institute for Water Business

As the world's clean freshwater resources become more scarce, business organizations must prepare for the risks posed by growing competition for clean water, the threat of water contamination, and rising water-related costs.  The Institute for Water Business at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is the first of its kind in the United States, created for the purpose of developing water business acumen and capacity through education, research, and multi-stakeholder collaboration.

GIS Center/PANGEA Studios

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) integrates several types of data that is geographically referenced and expresses the data spatially to visualize, analyze, interpret, and understand it and identify relationships, patterns, and trends.  At UW-Whitewater, PANGEA Studios engages in a number of different projects, including some with elements of sustainability.

City of Whitewater Water Metering and "Dashboard" Study

In 2011, the City of Whitewater installed new water meters which provide near real-time water usage data to the City. The goal of this research project is to develop a web-based water meter "dashboard" for residents and to assess how this information influences the water usage of city residents.