Integrating Education and Research

Courses with hands-on experiences and multiple points of view; interdisciplinary research with socially and ecologically responsible applications; student projects that address current issues–these are just some of the outcomes of our efforts to integrate education and research.

The Golisano Institute for Sustainability is just one example of the interrelationship between education and research prevalent at RIT. However, there are many more outstanding examples of students working with their professors to confront the global challenges of sustainability. The problems and solutions of sustainability are interdisciplinary. What emerges from our comprehensive and collaborative efforts will effectively address the breadth of these issues.


Every hour the sun radiates more energy onto the Earth’s surface than is consumed globally in one year. Our NanoPower Research Laboratories are making significant advances in the development of new materials and devices utilizing nanomaterials and nanotechnology for energy conversion, energy storage, and power systems development.

Pollution Prevention

RIT hosts the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute, sponsored by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The comprehensive statewide research and technology institute addresses individual industry needs and focuses on applied research in clean technology development, design for remanufacture, and green product assessment. As the Pollution Prevention Institute’s lead university, RIT collaborates with other university partners as well as 10 statewide technology development centers.

Sustainable Production

At RIT’s Center for Sustainable Production, engineers are developing tools and methods to assist companies in creating closed-loop, environmentally and economically sustainable systems. Research includes maximizing product reuse and remanufacturing, environmentally benign design, alternative energy technology implementation, and developing alternative nonhazardous materials.

Sustainable Mobility

Our research teams are working with the U.S. military, Monroe County (N.Y.), and the Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority to develop smart sensor systems to better assess the performance and efficiency of vehicle systems and reduce the costs and pollution generated from large fleets.


The institute’s remanufacturing research is internationally recognized in the development, testing, and implementation of efficient and cost-effective reuse technologies while also promoting the design of products that cause minimal harm to the environment.

Systems Modernization

Researchers are advancing technologies that improve design, streamline production processes, and support real-time monitoring. For example, the institute is partnering with a number of companies to develop new monitoring systems to reduce the cost and the environmental impact of product development and operation.

Clean Energy

The Clean Energy Incubator is a joint effort by the Golisano Institute for Sustainability and RIT’s Venture Creations business incubator that assists early stage clean energy companies in product development, business and marketing planning, and technology commercialization. The incubator enhances continued economic development in a host of areas, including wind energy, solar power, and fuel cell development.

Sustainable Communities

RIT is helping to build and maintain sustainable communities throughout greater Rochester. Since 2000, RIT faculty and students, led by professor Ann Howard, have partnered with residents of the northeast neighborhoods in Rochester to propel the implementation of the neighborhoods’ strategic plans. The partnership has twice received national recognition for its commitment to university-community partnerships.

Responding to Natural Disasters

Associate professor Anthony Vodacek is leading an international collaboration to address the dangerous levels of carbon dioxide and methane gas that haunts Lake Kivu, the freshwater lake system bordering Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Information Products Laboratory for Emergency Response also collaborates with other organizations to develop and implement innovative geospatial solutions using remote sensing technology for improved disaster mitigation planning and response from academia to the private and public sector.

Energy Systems

The Nanophotonics group, led by assistant professor Stefan Preble, is enhancing quantum optic technology by building the first active quantum devices on traditional silicon chips. Experts believe that the use of quantum optics, where individual particles of light are used to represent information, may hold the key for creating the next generation of communication and computing systems.

In the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, researchers are also developing green computing methods to both reduce energy use and increase system efficiency.

Environmental Restoration

Researchers and students in the College of Science are collaborating with universities, conservatories, and governments across the world in an effort to restore the global environment. In Chiapas, Mexico, restoration efforts are underway to protect and conserve the many unique plants and animals found in the riparian forests. Back home, they are conducting studies to assess changes in wetland size, fl oral biodiversity, and the impact of invasive species on wetland communities.

Sustainable Packaging

RIT is home to one of the most extensive packaging laboratories in the northeastern United States. In addition to academic support, the laboratory provides full commercial package testing services to a range of companies, from small to Fortune 500, in package development consulting, materials testing, and distribution simulation. The lab works to develop innovative and functional sustainable packaging designs that aim to reduce package volume and the amount of nonrenewable packaging materials.

Alternative Fuels

Led by Satish Kandlikar, researchers in the Kate Gleason College of Engineering are using advanced diagnostic methods with visual access to enhance auto motive fuelcell performance. A hydrogen station at the Golisano Institute for Sustainability helps to improve the operation of hydrogen-powered vehicles and increase public understanding of hydrogen fuel.

Transportation Policy

Through the development of geospatial models using geographic information systems, RIT’s Lab for Environmental Computing and Decision Making provides better information to policy makers and improved assessment of current regulations and proposed reforms.

Image Permanence

For precious artifacts and cherished documents, time is the enemy. The Image Permanence Institute at RIT works with a host of national institutions and federal agencies, including The Library of Congress and the National Archives and Records Administration, to implement new scientific methods for document and artifact preservation.