Student works in laboratory. Using language from the 1987 Bruntland Commission, Iowa State University defines sustainability research as “research that works to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” This definition includes research that focuses on the environmental, social, economic and cultural aspects of sustainability for the purposes of enhancing the quality of life for present and future generations.

In addition to incorporating sustainability-related research opportunities into curriculum, Iowa State has research units in nearly every discipline. In total, 100 research centers and institutes provide engagement opportunities for students, faculty and staff. Ames Laboratory, a federal Department of Energy facility, is also housed at Iowa State. In addition, the Iowa State University Research Park serves businesses of all sizes, including start-ups, small-staff operations, growing entrepreneurial ventures and corporations with multiple locations worldwide.

More than 20% of university faculty members are engaged in sustainability research, collectively representing 95% of Iowa State’s academic departments.