Welcome from the Director, Elizabeth Wilson

Welcome to the Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society

The three years since I came on board as the inaugural director of Dartmouth's Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society have been dynamic. The Institute has expanded collaboration across the College's schools and centers on energy and society challenges while strengthening Dartmouth's interdisciplinary and liberal arts approach to research. We have worked hard to engage students and faculty in energy research and developed many hands-on opportunities to experience the energy system. We have also connected with Dartmouth's energy alumni, who work across the country and the world and who are leading energy system transformations. We are also excitedly watching as the Institute's new (energy-efficient!) home is built on the campus' West End. 

I am so impressed by the growing Dartmouth energy community. In the last three years, the Irving Institute has awarded three rounds of seed grant funding to faculty, staff, and students, totaling nearly $750,000. We are were excited to see that two seed-grant funded projects (see here and here) received almost $3 million in additional support from the National Science Foundation. In summer 2020, the Institute and our partners at the Thayer School and the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) were gratified to receive a second round of funding ($1.5 million) for research on energy in extremely cold regions. We're also in collaboration with the Dartmouth Sustainability Office, travelling with students twice to the Gulf Coast and once to Appalachia for immersive, on-the-ground experiential learning trips. We've watched our bi-weekly Dartmouth Energy Collaborative seminar series steadily grow in attendance, even as we've had to pivot to online seminars during the pandemic. We've recently launched two popular new online event series, Alumni Sparks, which gives Dartmouth students and recent graduates a chance to hear about Dartmouth energy alumni career journeys, and New Energy, a collaboration with 16 other universities, which provides a platform for early-career energy researchers from across the world to share their research. In fall 2020, we took our Energy 101 series online, offering an 'ankle-deep' look into energy and society concepts to participants looking to better understand the ways that energy touches all our lives. While we had offered the course three times before on campus, the online format allowed us to open enrollment and we've had more than 180 people sign up from Dartmouth, the local community, and around the country. 

With all our growth, the Institute's mission and vision spur research, education, and engagement shaped by the realities of rapidly accelerating climate change and the need for an energy system transition. The year 2020 has amplified the urgency of just energy transitions as energy critically intersects with health, climate, and equity issues. 

Our mission is more vital than ever: Record-setting climate fueled disasters (wildfires, heat and drought, hurricanes, flooding), a viral pandemic that is statistically more deadly to people who live in polluted communities, and civil unrest resulting from the nation's failure to adequately reckon with ongoing racial injustice. We remain keenly aware of the "society" dimensions to our Energy and Society mission.  

By convening many perspectives on the energy issues that we face today; by prioritizing  research that starts with society's needs and focuses on practical outcomes that lead to  sustainable energy futures for all; by leveraging the strengths of our Dartmouth community and  those of our collaborators and partners around the world, we are committed to our mission.

Please join us. We invite you to get involved with the Dartmouth energy community and the Irving Institute, whether via an event, proposing a research project, subscribing to our newsletter, or other opportunities. We need each other now more than ever.

~ Elizabeth