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About

Vision

The vision of WISER is a world with energy security, sufficient and affordable sources of clean energy and water, and a sustainable climate to ensure quality of life, social and economic well-being, and the preservation of natural resources and the environment for future generations.

Mission

The mission of WISER is to: become a major part of IIT academic activities by creating a culture of excellence and innovation and developing state-of-the-art research and education programs; improve IIT's visibility and reputation; support IIT's Strategic Plan and six major priorities; and attract top faculty, students; major interdisciplinary grants; and philanthropic funds to IIT.

Goals

-- Develop state-of-the-art education and research programs in specifically focused areas of energy and sustainability; continue to attract research and educational grants and contracts; work closely with the deans and provost to continue to attract top faculty; and work with Institutional Advancement to attract philanthropic funds to establish WISER graduate scholarships.

-- Launch several initiatives that will expand the interdisciplinary perspective of the research and education program in the energy and sustainability area; set a new high standard for excellence in energy and sustainability education and research at IIT; and develop research programs in partnership with global and local industry, national and research laboratories, and domestic and international universities.

While IIT is continuing its commitment to provide students with fundamental knowledge within the core disciplines, the curricula will be broadened by introducing interdisciplinary education in energy and sustainability, with a continuing focus on interdisciplinary large-scale innovative research at the graduate level and student participation in research, and interprofessional and entrepreneurial team projects at the undergraduate level. We want to attract more women and minority students and faculty by creating a more welcoming and diverse community within WISER.  We also plan to increase our outreach programs and work closely with the communities around us. Our plan also demands significant research and educational partnerships with universities inside and outside the United States, industry, and government and research laboratories, and collaboration with local communities, the City of Chicago, Cook County, and the State of Illinois.  We have identified several education and collaborative research areas of high priority for WISER and are focusing our effort to attract significant funding and to secure needed resources to assume a national leadership role in these areas. At present, these areas include:   microgrid, clean coal technology and carbon capture, wind energy, sustainable built environment, energy storage, natural gas production and storage, use of algae as biofuel, and energy and sustainability education.

Strengths

As a university-wide initiative, WISER capitalizes on IIT's:

-- International recognition in specific areas of energy production and efficiency, power, and environmentally related research and education
-- Leadership role in energy policy and forecasting
-- Original formulation of the Energy/Environment/Economics paradigm
-- Current and emerging strengths across several disciplines: engineering, science, architecture, design, business, law, and psychology. The WISER organizational structure diagram is below. To download a pdf, click here.

Approach

The  WISER approach to sustainability implements a least-cost strategy to establish innovative and advanced programs to:  enhance energy efficiency through energy conservation and connectivity programs; launch water and material accountability and recycling initiatives; enhance  power reliability and security; develop clean coal technologies for power generation with carbon dioxide capture and sequestration; apply renewable energy sources such as solar, geothermal, and wind in the design of buildings and residences; pursue effective energy storage and conversion technologies; and explore the possibilities of transitional energy development such as methane and biomass.  Our long-term approach includes reducing the dependence of the global energy system on carbon by using renewable sources such as photovoltaic, solar, geothermal, and wind energy.

WISER is well on the way to establishing a national and international reputation for the University in the energy and sustainability area that is of global interest—representing one of the major issues that the world is facing today and will continue to face in the future.  To date, WISER has launched a number of collaborative educational and research programs including smart grid and perfect electricity, wind energy, clean coal technology and carbon capture, plug-in hybrid, sustainable built environment, energy storage, and a significant number of Interprofessional Projects (IPROs) in energy and sustainability related areas.

Activities

More than 80 faculty members are currently involved in energy and sustainability related research and education initiatives from different colleges and institutes at IIT. In addition, different academic units offer courses and Interprofessional Projects (IPROs) in specific topics that attract numerous graduate and undergraduate students.

WISER has launched collaborative, state-of-the-art, interdisciplinary research and education programs specifically focused in the following areas energy and sustainability:

-- Microgrid
-- Power synchronization and power electronics for efficiency enhancement
-- Clean coal technology, and carbon capture and sequestration
-- Sustainable built environment
-- Renewable (wind and solar) energy
-- Energy storage (including battery research)
-- Natural gas production and storage
-- Biofuel from algae
-- Energy/water/food nexus, including urban farming
-- Project-based energy and sustainability education across the university

The broad array of current research and education programs in the WISER core competency areas are described in detail on this website.