About Golisano Institute for Sustainability

We research. We build knowledge.
We put innovation and technology to work for a sustainable future.

Golisano Institute for Sustainability (GIS) is a global leader in sustainability education and research. We partner with business and government sponsors to solve complex, systemic problems. Much of our work aims to make industry more sustainable. To do this, we use innovative approaches and technologies to minimize the use of materials and energy while maximizing outcomes. Our expertise, combined with our state-of-the-art research facilities, allows our partners to gain new insights, fuel innovation, and move forward.

Our graduate and doctoral programs are challenging, inspirational, and world-changing. GIS graduates go on to become transformative agents of change within industry, government, academia, and the nonprofit sector. They are problem-solvers, visionaries, and decision-makers who want to create a better, sustainable world. We are part of Rochester Institute of Technology, a university that is world-renowned as an advocate and practitioner of sustainability.

GIS draws upon the skills of more than 100 full-time engineers, technicians, research faculty, and sponsored students. We are home to six dynamic research centers that operate over 84,000 square feet of industrial infrastructure for modeling, testing, and prototyping. The mix of talent, experience, and technical capabilities that we bring to every project is unparalleled.

What We Do

We believe that meeting the challenges of a changing climate, a growing population, and the depletion of natural resources demands systemic transformation. To do this, we advance sustainability within manufacturing, transportation, and energy through education, research, innovation, and strategic partnerships.

The rooftop of the GIS building with plants, solar panels, and a man walking

Shaping Tomorrow's Sustainability


Our faculty, staff, and students think globally but act locally here in Rochester, New York. We are active volunteers in our city, whether it’s setting up a community garden, speaking to high school students, or providing design expertise for a new urban development project.


We are discovering closed loop solutions to tackle food waste in the United States. Using processes like transesterification to make biofuel and pyrolysis to create biochar, our research is helping to make waste-to-energy processes a reality.


Industry and government leaders from around the globe turn to GIS as a source of expertise and innovation in remanufacturing. The impact of our research in remanufacturing is shaping trade and regulatory policies internationally to break down trade barriers that inhibit the full potential of the circular economy.

By the Numbers

Academic faculty 13
Research faculty 8
Active Ph.D. candidates 19
Degree programs offered 3
Engineers, technicians, and support staff 52
Unique industry customers since 2003 1,200
Applied research centers 6
External sponsored research funding annually $14M+
Signature Initiatives launched 6
group photo of GIS staff in front of building entrance

Our team is comprised of full-time engineers, technicians, research faculty, sponsored students, and administrators working across six dynamic research centers. The mix of talent, experience, and technical capabilities that we bring to every project is unparalleled.

Our advisory board members come from leading companies in several industries and provide advanced expertise as well as resource partnerships around the country.

Our space may be available for events such as conferences, meetings, seminars, or networking events. Contact us to learn more.

Customized tours of our facilities are available by request for groups interested in learning more our research and academic programs or receiving training in any of our areas of expertise.

We can provide quick testing, analyses, and recommendations on current products and manufacturing processes to help you become more efficient and sustainable. Contact us today to see how we can help you.

Our advanced 3D printing and additive manufacturing equipment provides the capability for highly detailed prototype creation. We also have the capability to test prototypes and make recommendations for improved designs. Contact us to learn more.

Our Facilities

Our facilities cover multiple locations on the RIT campus, totaling over 84,000 square feet, and include large industrial high bays, labs, testbeds, classrooms, and conference spaces. Our primary building is LEED Platinum certified, and designed to demonstrate sustainable building technologies and energy systems, with features including a rainwater collection system and a microgrid with advanced sensors, as well as fuel cells, photovoltaics, and wind turbines that generate 100% of our energy.


Our History

The Golisano Institute for Sustainability was established in 2007 with a $10 million gift from Paychex Inc. founder and philanthropist B. Thomas Golisano, and it has come to house nine applied research labs and six technology testbeds with some of the most advanced sustainability equipment in New York state.

GIS background
  1. Louise Slaughter and RIT president holding CIMS tshirt

    CIMS established


    The Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies (CIMS) is established, which has so far helped more than 1,200 manufacturers solve technical problems and adopt new technologies.

  2. Digital manufacturing lab rover arm being handled by staff

    C3R established


    The Center for Remanufacturing and Resource Recovery (C3R) is established, the world’s leading research center dedicated to the advancement of remanufacturing through cross-sector research.

  3. US Marines huddles over large map

    U.S. Department of Defense research began


    Asset modernization, health, and sustainment research begins with U.S. Department of Defense, a multi-project research initiative that continues today with more than $30 million in funding to date.

  4. RIT President Bill Destler (left) and B. Thomas Golisano

    GIS established


    The Golisano Institute for Sustainability is officially established through a $10 million gift from B. Thomas Golisano, philanthropist and founder of Paychex Inc. Today it is home to a world-class graduate education programs and nine applied research labs and six technology testbeds dedicated to advancing a sustainable industrial system.

  5. Volunteer gardening with young children

    NYSP2I established


    RIT is selected to lead the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I) in partnership with New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation to drive sustainability among the state’s businesses and communities.

  6. staff showing how cobot works

    COE-ASM established


    The Center of Excellence in Advanced and Sustainable Manufacturing (COE-ASM) is established to connect manufacturers to advanced tools and technologies that they can use to become more productive and profitable.

  7. GIS building exterior

    Sustainability Hall opens


    The Golisano Institute for Sustainability (GIS) opens the doors to RIT’s Sustainability Hall, a LEED Platinum-certified building that is home to world-class research and education. Generating all the energy it needs onsite, the building is a living example of sustainable building technologies and distributed energy systems.

  8. Nabil Nasr speaking at REMADE conference

    The REMADE Institute formed


    GIS leads the formation of the largest recycling and remanufacturing consortia in the United States: The REMADE Institute. One of 16 Manufacturing USA® institutes, REMADE has over 100 members crossing all sectors with more than $140 million in committed research funding.