The Institutes of Energy and the Environment (IEE) fosters and facilitates interdisciplinary scholarship and collaboration to positively impact important energy and environmental challenges. We bring together more than 500 extraordinary faculty, staff, and students to advance the energy and environmental research missions of the University.

Download the Overview of the Institutes of Energy and the Environment.

IEE supports research at Penn State in the areas of energy and the environment in four foundational ways:

  1. Networking and Collaboration
  2. Training and Development
  3. Funding Opportunities
  4. Facilities and Instrumentation

On why interdisciplinary work is valuable:

“I learn from my colleagues. When I am working in an interdisciplinary team, my own way of thinking gets shaped. I start to see problems differently and go outside my own discipline. It changes the way I look at everything in my own fire ecology world. I recognize the difference between faculty members who do not engage in interdisciplinary work and those who do. If you don’t have those experiences, you can get into a pattern of the same thinking. At Penn State, we are ahead of the game. We’re already doing this.”

—Erica Smithwick

Networking and Collaboration

One facet of our mission is to connect collaborative interdisciplinary teams of researchers to meet society's energy and environmental challenges. The complexity of these challenges requires experts from multiple disciplines to collaborate and work together to successfully develop strategies and solutions for these challenges. To help researchers network and build professional relationships, IEE hosts a wide variety of events, workshops, and programs.

One of our goals is to promote cross-University relationships to strengthen research at Penn State. We have assembled a large group of co-funded faculty from multiple Penn State colleges. We also have an extensive network of affiliate Penn State researchers whose work is closely related to our mission.

We also support and collaborate with several other centers and college-level institutes throughout the University.

One way we find success in developing networks of Penn State researchers is through our impactful and purposeful events throughout the year.

Training and Development

IEE helps faculty members, researchers, and graduate students improve their ability to translate their work into accurate and usable communications through science communication training workshops. The goal is to help researchers clearly articulate their work so that it is easily understood by news organizations and beyond. IEE has also conducted other trainings and workshops, including facilitation training and workshops on opportunities within Penn State.

Funding Opportunities

IEE provides funding for research and scholarship related to our mission.  Annually, our Seed Grant Program is available to Penn State faculty members and researchers. The program funds interdisciplinary research proposals aimed to enhance and focus on IEE’s research themes. In the program’s first three years, more than $1.2 million were awarded to fifty-seven projects, which has resulted in more than $4 million in external funding. In 2017, more than $500,000 was made available to Penn State faculty members. Other examples of funding include graduate student support, matching support for large interdisciplinary grants, and start-up funding to further exploration of initiatives.Another key method of support is through funding. Whether it is co-funded faculty or our successful seed grant programs, IEE looks to financially support important research and scholarly work that aligns with our mission.

Facilities and Instrumentation

Researchers in the Penn State community as well as in industry can access IEE’s cutting-edge facilities and instruments to further their research and development. IEE’s Energy and Environmental Sustainability Laboratories (EESL) consist of multiple facilities across the University Park campus.

Additionally, IEE supports the Energy and the Environment Laboratory, which houses laboratories and centers doing world-class energy research, such as the Battery and Energy Storage Technology (BEST) Center, as well as the Land and Water Research Building, which houses the Accelerator Mass Spectrometer Lab and the Water Quality Lab.

Office of the Vice President of Research

IEE is one of the Penn State research institutes organized under the Vice President for Research. These research institutes were established by the University in areas that promise to have significant impact on society:

Our leadership includes a director, an executive committee, a coordinating council and an advisory board.  

If you have additional questions about IEE, please contact us