Mission & History
The Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN) advances global energy and sustainability solutions through transformational research, interdisciplinary education, and public engagement.
The present time is like no other in human history. Population growth and the demand for a more globally equitable standard of living are having an unprecedented impact on Earth's climate and life-supporting natural resources. Yet, local, national, and international responses to critical climate and development goals remain fragmented.
Future sustainability and energy solutions lie at the dynamic intersection of science, policy, and economics. Our commitment to holistically addressing global environmental challenges is rooted in the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern University (ISEN). The Institute builds on the University's culture of team-driven science and interdisciplinary research to accelerate progress from discovery to application. With expertise in solar electricity and fuels, catalysis and sustainable materials, and carbon science and management, ISEN works to position Northwestern for influential leadership in these critical fields.
Northwestern's $20 million investment in ISEN's state-of-the-art, 8,000-square-foot laboratory will invite new levels of collaboration between the Institute's academic and corporate partner networks. Concurrently, ISEN's interdisciplinary curriculum prepares the next generation of scientists, policymakters, and business leaders to apply expertise in their respective fields to global solutions.
Of course, there is so much more that we can do. ISEN’s Executive Council, an external board of senior- and C-level energy and sustainability executives, continues to bring visibility, knowledge and financial resources to ISEN. Global engagement of scientists, engineers, economists and policy experts across a broad spectrum of energy and sustainability challenges remains critical. Developing human capital – our students – is an ever-evolving task, and increasingly we see professional development as a top-priority for these future leaders. The campus itself is also going through a period of incredible physical transformation, and ISEN, in collaboration with the Office of Sustainability, is looking for every opportunity to leverage this process to turn our campuses into living laboratories with cutting-edge efficient buildings, new distributed sources of clean energy generation, and beautiful green space.
All of this we must do - now and together. Your partnership will fuel ISEN's capacity to reimagine the possible and empower our future. We hope that you will join us on this most important journey.
If you have thoughts or ideas about how ISEN can be of service to you – faculty, student, staff or community member – we welcome your call.
Michael R. Wasielewski
Clare Hamilton Hall Professor of Chemistry;
Executive Director, Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN);
Director, Argonne-Northwestern Solar Energy Research (ANSER) Center
Morton O. Schapiro
Professor of Economics;
President, Northwestern University