Climate and Energy

With major research programs in energy and environmental policy, civil and environmental engineering, urban planning, environmental studies, agriculture, food, water, and health, Tufts is pushing the boundaries on understanding—and tackling—climate change.

Creating a Greener, Cleaner, More Sustainable Planet

A lady pauses to take a photo during a tour of the solar panel installation on the campus of the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine

Tufts stands at the forefront of global efforts to lay the groundwork for large-scale changes needed to prevent climate-related disasters, bolster the world’s transition to low-carbon energy sources, mitigate the potentially devastating effects of existing climate-related threats, and create “just sustainabilities”—that is, healthy, sustainable ecosystems for all communities.

CREATE Solutions, a transdisciplinary research group at Tufts, is leading the charge. The group pulls together experts in a range of fields, including policy, agriculture, biology, engineering, and economics, to solve problems related to offshore wind energy initiatives, grid integration activities, sustainable food systems, food preservation, agriculture, and domestic and international climate policy.​ 

Leveraging its strong relationships with government, industry, national laboratories, and other research centers, Tufts regularly convenes experts on critical climate-related issues. As one example: Bluetech Innovation Day, a Tufts-led event focused on the rapidly growing range of technologies that intersect with the oceans, highlights the university’s dedication to ocean sustainability. 

A key to creating healthier oceans is building a greener, cleaner shipping industry—a multidisciplinary effort underway at Tufts. That effort integrates the university’s expertise in offshore wind with the resources of the School of Engineering’s Offshore Wind Energy Engineering program—the first offshore wind graduate program dedicated to infrastructure, supply chain, and transmission in the offshore wind industry.

In addition, The Fletcher School’s Center for International Environment and Resource Policy (CIERP) analyzes how economic and social activities impact the environment and also designs strategies for meeting human needs without straining the planet’s resources. 

Tufts is making a difference on other sustainability fronts as well:

With a grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Erin Coughlan de Perez from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy is leading an international, interdisciplinary team of researchers in identifying methods to prevent negative health outcomes after climate-related disasters like floods, typhoons, and droughts. 

Tufts researchers and others have discovered a single-atom alloy catalyst that can produce propylene in a highly efficient manner, with a much lower carbon footprint than methods traditionally used.

Several studies are highlighting both problems that need addressing and potential solutions, including ones that:

Tufts offers a graduate certificate in Impact and Sustainable Investing, a one-year, online program based in the Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning Department.

A significant contribution to Tufts’ research in climate and energy sustainability: the focus of that research on food and water—the two fundamental systems that have the largest impact on people and societies. The impending loss of water in locations around the world coupled with inadequate food systems and global food shortages will be among the most destabilizing challenges in human history. 

Yet through expertise in the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and The Fletcher School as well as the schools of Arts and Sciences and of Engineering, research is under way to surface tangible solutions that mitigate issues related to food systems, water supplies, and the social and economic concerns that arise from issues of access. 

Tufts intends for that research to inform a new model for education that engages students as global citizens who bring hands-on solutions to local and global communities. Tufts’ research will also highlight systemic social and economic justice issues that have contributed to, and are a result of, climate change, while at the same time developing the models and providing the resources to mitigate these impacts.