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Leadership of the Resnick Sustainability Institute

November 11, 2019

To: The Caltech Community
From: Thomas F. Rosenbaum, President
­David A. Tirrell, Provost
Jonas C. Peters, Director, Resnick Sustainability Institute
Date: November 11, 2019
Re: Leadership of the Resnick Sustainability Institute

The remarkable gift to Caltech from Stewart and Lynda Resnick promises to transform our educational and research efforts in sustainability writ large, including climate science, water resources, ecology, catalysis, energy science and technology, and engineering of materials and the biosphere. Over the last several weeks, we have begun to assemble a leadership team for the expanded Resnick Sustainability Institute, and we are eager to begin a campuswide conversation that will identify the most important opportunities for the Institute, based on our unique strengths and aspirations and the possibility for translational impact. These early conversations will help to shape our initial investments and programs.

The four research programs of the Institute will be led by:

Sunlight to Everything: Harry Atwater
Climate Science: Paul Wennberg
Water Resources: Mark Simons
Ecology and Biosphere Engineering: Dianne Newman

As we develop our new research programs, we should be thinking about how we can make Caltech a uniquely appealing destination for young people who want to contribute to a more sustainable future. To that end, Theo Agapie and Jess Adkins have agreed to lead a campuswide education committee within the Resnick Institute. The committee will solicit and foster new ideas that will enrich our educational programs in all areas of sustainability.

An important element of the Resnick Institute will be a new building that will house shared facilities for teaching and research. Sarah Reisman has agreed to chair the faculty committee that will guide the building planning process.

We will soon fill out the membership of the education and building committees, and appoint an executive committee that will work with the Director to define and implement the programs of the Resnick Institute. In the meantime, we thank our colleagues who have agreed to lead our early-stage efforts, and we invite all of you to talk with them about your ideas for new initiatives in education and research.