RIT’s Sustainability Ph.D. Receives State Approval

Doctoral degree is first in the world to focus on sustainable production




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Rochester Institute of Technology has received New York state approval for its doctoral degree in sustainability. The Ph.D. program is the first in the world focused on sustainable production and seeks to advance research and education in alternative energy development, sustainable design, green product development, industrial ecology and pollution prevention.

The program is being offered through RIT’s Golisano Institute for Sustainability, a comprehensive academic, research and technology transfer center devoted to enhancing the development of sustainable systems in all aspects of society.

“The sustainability Ph.D. program will enhance RIT’s continued efforts to create cutting edge academic research and innovation that has real world impact,” notes RIT President Bill Destler. “In addition, the combined research and education initiatives provided by the Golisano Institute will prepare our next generation of scientists and engineers to meet the sustainability challenges of the 21st century.”

“The Golisano Institute for Sustainability is dedicated to developing and implementing technologies that enhance environmental quality while also promoting economic efficiency and productivity,” notes Nabil Nasr, director of the Golisano Institute. “The creation of this doctoral degree will allow us to take the next step in developing research, technologies and education that make the twin goals of economic competitiveness and environmental quality a reality.”

RIT’s doctoral degree in sustainability focuses on a broadly defined, multidisciplinary mission that is designed to produce graduates who can be sustainability “change agents” throughout the industrial, academic, governmental and nongovernmental worlds. Students will develop skills in such diverse areas as environmentally conscious product design and manufacturing, life cycle analysis, environmental science and sustainable business enterprises.

RIT plans to admit students into the program immediately and is also recruiting additional faculty and research associates. The development of the program was made possible through an initial grant from the Henry Luce Foundation.

The Golisano Institute for Sustainability was founded in 2007 thanks to a $10 million gift from B. Thomas Golisano, founder and chairman of Paychex Inc. and an RIT trustee. The center has received additional funding from the Chester & Dorris Carlson Charitable Fund, Xerox Corp, the New York State Assembly and the New York State Senate. RIT is now developing plans for the construction of a new facility that will house the Golisano Institute and Ph.D. program.

“I am confident that this Ph.D. program will combine with our additional initiatives to make the Golisano Institute for Sustainability one of the leading institutes of its kind in our nation and throughout the world,” adds Jeremy Haefner, RIT’s senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “RIT hopes to be at the forefront of the effort to make our society and our planet more sustainable for today and for generations to come.”