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October 16, 2012


University Announces Innovative Scott Institute

By Piper Staff

Carnegie Mellon is digging into one of the greatest challenges facing the world today.


Granger Morgan, the director of the Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation, outlined the work being done to establish the university as the "go to" place for energy-related research and education during a symposium that lauded the new initiative and described some of the current research at CMU.

"One of the things CMU is really good at is going out and identifying real-world problems and then fixing them," said Morgan, the Thomas Lord Chair in Engineering.

The four key concerns plaguing the industry are a need for better energy efficiency; energy security; developing sources of energy that are clean, safe, affordable, secure and sustainable; and innovations in technology and organizations, regulations, economics and behaviors of people.

"Addressing these issues will require an interdisciplinary systems approach to research and development that focuses on the problems as they are; the education of a new generation of experts and leaders who understand energy problems and how they can be resolved; and a public that can participate in an informed way in ongoing public discourse about energy issues," Morgan said.

With the launch of the Scott Institute, the university has a way to seamlessly combine expertise in technology, policy, integrated systems and behavior and social science as they relate to improving energy efficiency and developing new, clean, affordable and sustainable energy sources.

It also will provide a "one stop" point of entry to learn about CMU's energy-related activities, and use its resources to coordinate and promote synergy among the wide array of energy-related research centers and individual faculty research efforts.

The Scott Institute will help to seed opportunities as they arise and provide contiguous space where people with diverse backgrounds can interact with others working on energy issues. The institute's home, the Sherman and Joyce Bowie Scott Hall, will be built near Hamerschlag Hall.

"Carnegie Mellon has now taken a big step toward achieving these four critical concerns," Morgan said.

The institute will be administered through the College of Engineering, but it will be a university-wide organization that reports to the provost and a group of deans. Additionally, there will be an external advisory board from industry and an internal steering committee of faculty.

Grand Gifts

The Scott Institute was made possible by a lead gift from Sherman Scott (E'66), president and founder of Delmar Systems, which develops mooring systems for the offshore oil and gas industry, and his wife, Joyce Bowie Scott (A'65), a trustee of the university. The institute is named for Sherman's father, Wilton E. Scott.

"By bringing together experts from a range of disciplines, Carnegie Mellon is the perfect place to help meet the energy challenges of the future," Scott said. "Energy is a precious resource, and Carnegie Mellon's systems approach can create solutions that ensure we produce and use energy more efficiently."

Regional Partnership

At the symposium, Andy Gellman, associate director for the Scott Institute, discussed the university's continued leadership in the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) Regional University Alliance (RUA). About 20 CMU faculty members from multiple departments and colleges participate in the NETL-RUA, researching areas such as air quality, carbon capture, carbon sequestration, energy storage, fuel cells, hydrogen separation and water.
    The symposium concluded with four presentations selected by electronic audience voting:
  • Baruch Fischhoff, the Howard Heinz University Professor, discussed how human behavior will affect the energy future.
  • Ed Rubin, the Alumni Professor of Environmental Engineering and Science, discussed clean coal.
  • Jeanne VanBriesen, director of the Center for Water Quality in Urban Environmental Systems, discussed water and shale gas development.
  • Jay Whitacre, the Gerard G. Elia Career Development Professor, discussed low cost batteries.

The talks and much more information is available on the institute website at