Centers & Institutes

Developing Innovative Solutions for Human-Bison Coexistence Across North America

Bison restoration, a trans-boundary conservation issue that involves a multitude of diverse stakeholders, is among the most challenging of human-wildlife co-existence issues today in North America. Bison are an iconic and ecologically important species but occupy less than 1% of their historic range. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature, along with diverse land managers, have identified bison reintroduction as a priority to ensure viable free-roaming populations, restore ecological function, and enhance cultural values. Yet, reintroduction of free-roaming bison is fraught with concerns over the transmission of disease to livestock, competition with cattle for shared forage, genetic integrity, and uncertainty about the ecological impact of bison on arid ecosystems. This GCRT will bring together a diverse group of scholars and practitioners to explore the ecological, economic, and social dimensions of this timely topic and continental-scale challenge and set an agenda for research and action applicable to the ever-increasing global problem of human-wildlife co-existence.

EcoDistrict Urban Resiliency Metrics

This research team will develop standardized measures and collect baseline data to create a scientifically rigorous set of metrics for the EcoDistrict Framework, which will eventually be tested in the City of Fort Collins to help the City realize its climate neutrality, resource reduction, and healthy community goals.

Educating for Sustainability, Peace, and Reconciliation: Managing the Conflicts of Human Needs and Place with Finite Resources

As a Research Working Group for the School of Global Environmental Sustainability, this group will write and field test a number of case studies for use in classes across campus and with the general public about the threat of conflict and violence around natural resources issues and what constructive alternatives exist that support improved communication, deeper learning, critical and creative analyses, and cooperative possibilities.

Principal Investigators - William M. Timpson, School of Education; Louise Jennings, School of Education; Nathalie Kees, School of Education; and Leah Sprain, Communication Studies

Energy Institute

Energy is a central element of almost every major challenge and opportunity the world faces today. CSU has a long history of pioneering work in energy, with over 160 faculty developing energy technologies, exploring the economics, environmental, and sociological impacts of energy use, and proposing energy policy solutions.
The Institute aims to grow the impact, reach, and reputation of energy research and education at Colorado State University by increasing collaboration with industry and governmental partners, creating new research and educational opportunities for CSU faculty and students, and accelerating the dissemination of CSU solutions.
This cross-campus, interdisciplinary effort is operated under the Office of the Vice President for Research. The extensive network of researchers, research programs, and centers, spans all eight colleges at CSU, and extends off campus to a global network of public and private partners.


Directors: Morgan DeFoort, Bryan Willson, and Kenneth Reardon

Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory

The EECL is now entering its second decade of delivering significant, meaningful solutions to meet the global energy challenges and opportunities of the 21st Century, providing our students and researchers the experience and tools for a lifetime of contribution. With a focus towards market driven solutions, products developed at the EECL in partnership with our Industrial Sponsors have reduced pollution in the atmosphere by millions of tons and have saved over 14 billion cubic feet of natural gas.


Director: Bryan Willson
Co-Director: Morgan DeFoort

Enhancing Urban Community Well-being through Horticulture and Design

Horticulture and urban design have wide-ranging impacts on physical, mental, and emotional health of individuals and on community well-being. Design components including parks, community gardens, playgrounds, sports fields, green spaces, and natural settings all contribute to individual and community well-being. This team will bring faculty and students together from across campus to tackle the challenges of sustainability in urban environments.

Environmental Governance Working Group

The Environmental Governance Working Group is a multi-disciplinary community of scholars seeking to advance research on issues of environmental governance and sustainability.


Principal Investigators - Michele Betsill, Department of Political Science; Tony Cheng, Department of Forest, Rangeland and Watershed Stewardship; and Pete Taylor, Department of Sociology.

Environmental Justice and Sustainability in the Anthropocene

This team will grow the environmental justice community at CSU in their efforts to explore how and why equity and environmental justice are important elements of the study of the environment, public health, and sustainability. In 2016-17 they will put on a symposium on “Environmental Justice and Sustainability in the Anthropocene” highlighting transdisciplinary and international research, and develop an Environmental Justice Workshop Training Series.


Environmental Learning Center

The mission at the Colorado State University Environmental Learning Center is to connect people with nature by facilitating educational, inclusive and safe experiences in the natural environment and to advance the field of environmental education through sound research and practice.

Director: Brett Bruyere

Fort Collins Urban Sustainability Research Network (USRN)

The Fort Collins Urban Sustainability Research Network (USRN) is developing a platform for enhancing collaboration among the diverse organizations, institutions, and communities dedicated to building a sustainable future for Fort Collins, and other cities along the Front Range. Through this platform, the GCRT will develop a systematic approach to the region’s urban research needs and develop comprehensive sustainability goals. This team aims to build capacity among diverse partners and stakeholders to create innovative and equitable place-based solutions that could influence how cities around the globe approach and fund sustainability efforts.

Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture

Achieving food security and responding to the challenges of climate change are two goals that must be achieved together. That’s why agriculture, fisheries and forestry in developing countries must undergo a significant transformation

As population is on the rise food consumption patterns are destined to follow the same upward trend. Food production will need to increase by at least 70 percent to meet the demands of this growing population by 2050. Studies show that climate change is likely to reduce food productivity, its production stability and incomes in some areas that already have high levels of food insecurity.

Climate-smart agriculture promotes production systems that sustainably increase productivity, resilience (adaptation), reduces/removes GHGs (mitigation), and enhances achievement of national food security and development goals. 

For more information, please contact Raj Khosla,

Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative

The Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative was launched in September 2011 and is open to all those interested in developing a coherent platform for promoting the translation of expert knowledge on soil biodiversity into environmental policy and sustainable land management for the protection and enhancement of ecosystem services.


Scientific Chair –Diana Wall, Department of Biology

Global Soil Sustainability Working Group

The mission of the Global Soil Sustainability Working Group is to leverage the diverse strengths of Colorado State University scientists by coordinating research activities and providing a platform that integrates soil data from disparate sources to facilitate more productive interaction between soil scientists and decision-makers.


Principal Investigators – Rich Conant, NREL; Diana Wall, NREL; Keith Paustian, Department of Soil and Crop Sciences; Francesca Cotrufo, Department of Soil and Crop Sciences; Lee Sommers, Soil Microbiology and Chemistry; Gene Kelly, School of Agricultural Sciences; and Joe von Fischer, Department of Biology.