About the Institutes of Energy and the Environment

One Community, Impacting Many

At Penn State, interdisciplinary researchers solve problems that impact the world. We believe the best ideas and solutions come from including a multitude of perspectives. The University’s interdisciplinary institutes promote collaboration across departmental boundaries to focus research strengths on vital scientific questions and pressing societal needs.

The Institutes of Energy and the Environment (IEE) is one of those interdisciplinary institutes along with:


IEE is organized under the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research. Our leadership is made up of senior faculty members who have strong interdisciplinary research portfolios in energy and the environment. 

We are guided by an Executive Committee and a Coordinating Council, each that meets regularly and provides feedback to IEE's mission and goals.

People attending a meeting

Outreach and Training

IEE hosts workshops and symposia on special topics to help researchers connect across disciplines and initiate new projects. We also assist faculty who would like to be successful at attaining larger grants and managing teams of interdisciplinary researchers.

Through meetings and mentorship, we help junior faculty understand the challenges and rewards of interdisciplinary research. We also support mid-career faculty who would like to build a larger portfolio of successful grants. And we offer science communication training to more effectively share research results with journalists, policymakers, and the public.

Woman in lab doing experiment


IEE supports Penn State faculty doing innovative research on interdisciplinary energy and environmental topics. We assist researchers in identifying funding opportunities and help them become successful in obtaining it. Our seed grant program, which is open to faculty across the Penn State system, provides funding for interdisciplinary projects focused on energy and environmental topics. Additionally, IEE helps grow interdisciplinary research by supporting centers, events, and initiatives across the University.  

Kristina Douglass working with her lab colleagues

Next Generation

We are also investing in the next generation of interdisciplinary scholars, from high school students to undergraduate and graduate students. For example, we support EnvironMentors, a program that links high school students with faculty. The Environmental Inquiry minor provides opportunities to integrate environmental theory and practice across a range of undergraduate majors. Undergraduates play a key role in many of our seed grants and research initiatives. These students create a legacy of positive impact. 

A man works in a lab

Facilities and Instrumentation

IEE provides state-of-the-art instrumentation and labs in the form of the Energy and Environmental Sustainability Laboratories (EESL) that are available for use by Penn State researchers and industry.

We have a broad array of analytical techniques covering material in all phases, including a radiocarbon laboratory, a water quality laboratory, quantitative imaging capabilities, and much more. Both technical support and training are available for those interested in using the facilities.  

IEE oversees three physical facilities on the Penn State University Park campus:

  • Land & Water Research Building
  • Energy & Environment Laboratory 
  • Sustainable Experience Center
Lightning talk session at Energy Days

Collaboration and Networking

IEE encourages collaboration and networking among researchers in different fields through a variety of avenues. We host workshops, seminars, and regular events. Some of our annual keystone events include: 

  • Energy Days: A two-day conference focused on networking energy professionals from industry, government, and academia
  • Colloquium on the Environment: A speaker series that brings environmental leaders to Penn State to discuss current issues  
  • Science Communication:  Training and resources to help Penn State faculty, researchers, and graduate students to improve their science communication skills