RIT receives grant to develop PhD program in sustainability

The Henry Luce Foundation awards $465,000 for multi-disciplinary doctoral program

Rochester Institute of Technology has been awarded a $465,000 grant by the Henry Luce Foundation for the creation of an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in Sustainability.

RIT's groundbreaking Ph.D. program will seek through coursework and research to advance sustainability, which promotes the integration of economic, environmental and social considerations into the development and design of business processes and products. Graduates will have the skills to fundamentally change the way we design, manufacture and consume products.

The multi-disciplinary doctorate would integrate research and coursework in engineering and science with economics and public policy, particularly environmental policy, and management. The Ph.D. program would be one of the first in the world dedicated to the study of sustainability.

"RIT is extremely grateful to the Luce Foundation for investing in the development of the first generation of professionals equipped with the environmental knowledge and technical skills to help catalyze the transformation of our industrial system to one in which the goals of economic prosperity and global competitiveness are aligned with environmental, ethical, and social concerns," says Albert J. Simone, President of RIT. "We are proud to partner with one of the nation's most prestigious foundations in this effort."

"We fully expect this program to advance the development of environmentally and socially sound industrial system design while also educating engineers and policy makers around the world on the importance of sustainable principles," adds Nabil Nasr, director of the Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies and leader of RIT's Interdisciplinary Design Team for the Ph.D. "The ultimate goal is to produce graduates, at the highest educational level, that are equipped to become leaders in creating a more sustainable society both in their own communities and around the world."

RIT will augment the Luce Foundation grant with university funding and will convene the design team to begin curriculum development and program plan management over two years.

The sustainability Ph.D. program is a crucial component of RIT's newly developed Sustainability Institute initiative, a comprehensive research, education and outreach program addressing sustainable product design, closed-loop product management, renewable energy and other important areas of sustainability. The university is already one of the leading universities in the nation in applied research in these areas.


RIT is home to the National Center for Remanufacturing and Resource Recovery, an internationally recognized research facility with numerous sustainability projects in the area of remanufacturing, and the Sustainable Systems Research Center, with projects in sustainable product design and alternative energy technology development. The new Ph.D. program will tap into RIT's considerable expertise in these fields to further its efforts in research, development and technology transfer while also provide cutting edge educational programs for its students and industrial partners.

The Henry Luce Foundation is a non-profit, private foundation that supports a wide variety of programs in higher education, international affairs, art, public policy, the environment, and theology. The organization was founded by Henry Luce, founder of Time magazine, and is one of the most well known and influential foundations of its kind in the country with assets of nearly $780 million.

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