Nearly 1,000 sustainability research projects are listed in the university-wide research database managed by the Vice President for Research office
Half of all faculty conducting research at CSU (374 out of 755) have at least one research project related to sustainability in the database
More than 50 departments at the university (representing 75% of all departments) are engaged in sustainability research.
2019 Inventory of Sustainability Research Projects at CSU

CEMML works on endangered species protection, watershed restoration, and archeological preservation for the Department of Defense.

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Colorado State University has received more than $16 million in funding for COVID-19 research projects.

A research team has created an open-source data set for epidemiological research on tropical cyclones.

The Columbine Health Systems Center for Healthy Aging at CSU has amassed one of the largest archives of longitudinally collected human samples of COVID-19.

Alternative energy

Colorado State is a leader in alternative energy and biofuels research and offered one of the first courses on biofuels in the country. CSU is internationally known for its research developing clean energy solutions, including programs in alternative fuels. Researchers from CSU’s Department of Mechanical Engineering are developing biofuels from algae.

Center for Agricultural Energy

The Center for Agricultural Energy (CAE) empowers agricultural producers in Colorado to make environmentally and financially sound energy decisions. Affiliated faculty conduct agricultural energy audits, outreach, and research.

Center for Collaborative Conservation

The Center for Collaborative Conservation (CCC) is a place where stakeholders come together to define, discuss, study and act on critical issues affecting the earth’s ecosystems and the people who depend upon them. Its Fellows program works to strengthen engagement among students, faculty, conservation practitioners and other stakeholders by promoting collaborative research, education and action on critical issues concerning conservation and livelihoods on landscapes around the globe. The CCC Fellows are part of a network where principles and practice of collaborative conservation are developed, exchanged, tested and adapted.

Center for Multiscale Modeling of Atmospheric Processes

The Center for Multiscale Modeling of Atmospheric Processes (CMMAP) is a National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center focused on understanding and predicting the role of clouds in the Earth’s climate system and improving the representation of cloud processes in climate models. The Center has a science and education mission to educate and train people with diverse backgrounds in climate change and earth-system science by enhancing teaching and learning and disseminating science results. This educational mission has extended to hosting the Colorado Global Climate Conference in 2008 and a workshop on Weather and Climate for Teachers in July 2008 for certified teachers of any grade level.

Center for Protected Area Management

The Center for Protected Area Management (CPAM) is an outreach center that promotes protected area management around the world. Their mission is to contribute to the conservation, planning, and management of the world’s protected areas and the landscapes and seascapes that connect them through capacity building, applied research, and technical collaboration with the organizations that help manage them and the communities whose well-being depends on them. CPAM provides a bridge between academic researchers and front lines protected area practitioners, working on issues related to protected area planning, visitor management, interpretations techniques, and much more.

Center for the Advancement of Sustainable Enterprise

Through the College of Business, the Center for the Advancement of Sustainable Enterprise (CASE) launched a new, innovative program in May 2010 to make companies more valuable through sustainable business practices. The program provides an innovative framework that will deliver practical tools to executives to design and implement sustainable business practices.

Center for the New Energy Economy

Founded in February 2011, the Center for the New Energy Economy is a privately-funded initiative to support the growth of a clean energy economy across the United States. The Center, a part of Colorado State University, is led by former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter and is assisted by some of the nation’s most important thought leaders in clean energy research, development and commercialization. The Center works directly with governors, legislators, regulators, planners, policy makers, and other decision makers, providing technical assistance to help them create the policies and practices that will facilitate America’s transition to a clean energy economy. The mission of the Center is to incorporate best practices from around the nation and world to accelerate the development of a new energy economy.

Changing Climates Initiative

The Changing Climates Initiative is a campus-wide project launched in 2007 and supported by faculty and researchers from every CSU college, whose interests and research unite around climate change. This effort helps faculty infuse information and research on climate content into their courses in all majors and disciplines. It also provides seminars to train faculty and staff on climate change topics.

Charles Maurer Herbarium Collection

The mission of the Charles Maurer Herbarium Collection at CSU is to facilitate botanical research, teaching, and public service.  It is especially concerned with encouraging student success by providing positive research and internship mentorship opportunities, creating and participating in outreach opportunities that increase engagement with the public, providing digitized specimen images and data online, and encouraging collaborations within scientific communities at CSU as well as other regional professional herbarium users.  The herbarium documents Colorado’s flora and provides primary data for evaluating the status of plant species of conservation concern as well as tracking invasive species and how the flora responds to climate change.  As permanent records of the past, the herbarium specimens are a valuable resource for biodiversity research, resource management, and conservation in the Rocky Mountains.

Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station

The Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station hosts eight research centers in 10 sites throughout Colorado. The agency conducts interdisciplinary research addressing economic viability, environmental sustainability, and social acceptability of activities that have an impact on the agriculture, natural resources, and consumers in Colorado.

Colorado Natural Heritage Program

The Colorado Natural Heritage Program is Colorado’s only comprehensive source of information on the status and location of Colorado’s rarest and most threatened species and natural plant communities. We share information with a wide range of stakeholders in partnerships that work to ensure the Colorado’s biodiversity resources are not diminished. CNHP has an enormous impact on conservation in Colorado through these partnerships.

Colorado State Forest Service

CSU operates the Colorado State Forest Service with a mission to provide stewardship of the state’s forest resources and to reduce related risks to life, property and the environment for the benefit of present and future generations. The Forest Service operates 17 district offices across Colorado, with a range of services that include forest management, wildland fire, urban and community forestry, and conservation education.

Colorado Water Center

The Colorado Water Center (CoWC) is one of 54 Water Resources Research Institutes created by the Water Resources Act of 1964, which collectively form the National Institutes for Water Resources. As a division under CSU’s Office of Engagement, the Center aims to connect all water expertise in Colorado’s higher education system with research and education needs of Colorado’s water managers and users, building on the rich water history at Colorado State University. CoWC staff conduct research, teaches courses and seminars, and convenes and facilitates water-related discussions. They offer research grants, internship opportunities, scholarships, and provide water-related information to the citizens of Colorado through the web, publications, informal and formal education, and events.

CSU Extension

Extension programs in Colorado serve residents in 62 of Colorado’s 64 counties. Extension provides extensive educational information, based on Colorado State University research, to the public to meet local needs in topics such as water conservation, sustainable agricultural practices, drought management, food safety and nutrition, and more. It also operates programs, such as the 4-H Youth Development Program and ‘Master’ volunteer programs such as Colorado Master Gardeners, Native Plant Masters, Master Food Safety Advisors and Clean Energy Masters.

CSU Mountain Campus

At an elevation of 9,000 feet, Colorado State’s mountain campus and conference center sits in a beautiful, secluded mountain valley. As a site for conferences, workshops, meetings, and retreats, this campus offers a unique opportunity for visitors to enjoy nature in the Rocky Mountains. The campus’ location also offers a unique opportunity for students in the Warner College of Natural Resources. Academic classes are held here during the summer months that include outdoor labs, field study, and classroom work. NR-220 is a four-week field course for undergraduate students and F-230 is a one-week program for Forestry majors.

CSU System Spur Campus

The CSU System Spur campus is designed to engage the public, students, faculty, and partners in a new three-facility campus in north Denver. It is part of the redevelopment of the National Western Center, and will be a global destination for understanding and education related to issues at the intersection of food, water, and health. The Spur campus will continue the CSU System’s commitment to sustainability, with all three facilities designed to be minimum LEED Gold, and innovative practices around water, energy, and facility operations.

In addition, the Spur campus and the larger National Western Center campus are envisioned to be a living laboratory, leveraging CSU’s presence to evaluate the redevelopment’s performance (e.g., energy, water, biodiversity) and impacts on Denver (e.g., educational attainment, economic development). Ten CSU Fort Collins faculty and staff, in addition to the Institute for the Built Environment, have begun collecting data about the site itself, and information about the surrounding communities, allowing CSU and others to conduct research and enhance outcomes in planning, development, and urban ecology.

Energy Institute and Powerhouse Energy Campus

The Energy Institute is a multidisciplinary alliance that integrates experts from many fields with the goal of improving quality of life – by taking research innovations to the global marketplace more efficiently and at an accelerated pace. The Energy Institute team has the breadth, depth, and entrepreneurial drive to make a global impact. Over one hundred and sixty faculty represent fields as diverse as the natural sciences, engineering, agricultural sciences, natural resources, humanities, applied human sciences, veterinary medicine, and business. In addition, a growing number of students and industry leaders are tapping into our growing network.

Envirofit International was founded on the idea that enterprise principles can transform the development of household and commercial energy technologies for people living in extreme energy poverty. In 2003, Envirofit set out to change the way energy products were developed for people living in remote parts of the world. With a goal of improving harmful traditional cooking methods, Envirofit innovated a product line of aesthetic, high performance cookstoves tailored to the needs of customers in emerging and underdeveloped markets. Years of consumer research and product development proved that people who lack access to electricity and clean cooking solutions do desire and will buy high quality products that can improve their lives. They are internationally recognized as the thoughts leaders in this field, and have sold close to 1.5M improved stoves to date.

OptiEnz LLC: OptiEnz Sensors LLC is a university startup that is developing biosensors for detecting food and water contaminants co-founded by Ken Reardon, a Colorado State professor of chemical and biological engineering. Reardon formed OptiEnz in tandem with Cenergy, the university’s vehicle for commercializing innovative clean and renewable technologies. OptiEnz is expected to develop, manufacture and sell the biosensors, which rely on the reaction of cultured enzymes to identify and quantify organic chemicals. With these devices, contaminants such as melamine, gasoline, solvents and nerve agents can be continuously measured in real-time without handling or pretreating a sample in any way. The biosensors can also be used to monitor chemicals in industrial processes, including those for food, beverage and biofuel production.

Solix Biofuels Inc.: A startup company based in Boulder, Solix is working with the Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory to commercialize technology that can cheaply mass produce oil derived from algae and turn it into biodiesel – an environmentally friendly solution to high gas prices, greenhouse gas emissions and volatile global energy markets. Solix officials plan to commercialize the technology. After ramping up to widespread production, the company expects to eventually compete commercially with the wholesale price of crude petroleum. Solix officials estimate that widespread construction of its photo-bioreactor system could meet the demand for the U.S. consumption of diesel fuel – about 4 million barrels a day – by growing algae on less than 0.5 percent of the U.S. land area, which is otherwise unused land adjacent to power plants and ethanol plants. The plants produce excess carbon dioxide, which is necessary to turn algae into oil. In addition to producing biodiesel, the process would prevent a large portion of the greenhouse gases produced by coal-burning power plants from being expelled directly into the atmosphere.

Spirae Inc. is a privately held company based in Fort Collins working with Colorado State in the Integrid Electric Power Systems Laboratory to test “smart grids,” which are new ways to connect electrical generators and users to increase the efficiency and reliability of the electrical grid in large, complex distributed power systems. Distributed power refers to generating electricity from many small sources close to where it’s needed – such as next to a factory or neighborhood or other major power user. The closer it is, the smaller the transmission losses and the more energy – and money – saved. These sources can be engines or turbines or they can renewable sources such as wind and solar photovoltaics.

Environmental Governance Working Group (EGWG)

The Environmental Governance Working Group (EGWG) at Colorado State was created in 2008 as a joint project of the Department of Political Science and the School of Global Environmental Sustainability at Colorado State University. It’s a multidisciplinary community of scholars seeking to advance research on environmental governance and sustainability. Its network includes faculty, researchers and graduate students from across the Colorado State University campus; decision-makers working for federal, state, and local agencies and non-profits; and scholars based at institutions around the world. EGWG’s leadership team includes Michele Betsill (Political Science), Tony Cheng (Forest and Rangeland Stewardship), and Peter Leigh Taylor (Sociology).

Environmental Learning Center

The Environmental Learning Center (ELC) is a unique learning environment and a valued natural resource in Northern Colorado. It’s situated on 212 acres of land, approximately three miles east of CSU’s main campus, on the banks of the Poudre River at the end of the Poudre River Trail. It’s managed through CSU’s College of Natural Resources and staffed primarily by students. With four ecosystems on the property — wetlands, riparian, cottonwood forest, and prairie ecosystems — the ELC is home to a diversity of flora and fauna. The mission of the ELC 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. That mission is accomplished through the provision of programs for schools, scout troops, the general public, and families. The ELC also conducts and hosts many research projects affiliated with Colorado State, from evaluating the effectiveness of experiential learning to studying the song patterns of chickadees.


FEScUE is a multidepartmental program at Colorado State, funded by the National Science Foundation, that engages undergraduates and faculty in mathematics, statistics, and the life sciences in jointly mentored interdisciplinary research clusters and in structured multidisciplinary coursework. The program is built around actively engaging students in research clusters mentored by two senior faculty members, one from mathematics and one from the life sciences. The need for interdisciplinary research that combines the mathematical and life sciences is increasingly urgent as our abilities to gather data outpace our ability to effectively analyze the data we collect — and as we seek to understand phenomena over ever wider ranges of scales. While the jointly-mentored research experience is the program’s focal point, FEScUE is a comprehensive educational experience that includes special seminars, gateway and fusion courses, and career advising.

Institute for the Built Environment

Colorado State’s Institute for the Built Environment is an interdisciplinary research and education center for environmentally responsible building design and construction. In addition to a graduate emphasis in sustainable building, IBE works with industry professionals to offer coursework, training and design charrettes in addition to conducting research. In 2009, the CSU’s Institute for the Built Environment created the certificate program in direct response to the growing need for specially trained professionals who can adapt to the changing industry.

Little Shop of Physics

CSU’s hands-on science and physics education program, Little Shop of Physics, is collaborating with the University’s Center for Multiscale Modeling of Atmospheric Processes (CMMAP) in taking science education and environmentally focused science projects to schools and the community.

Master Gardener Program

The Colorado Master Gardener Program through Colorado State’s Extension, trains volunteers to assist in delivering knowledge-based information about home gardening to Colorado residents. The Master Gardener training consists of more than 66 hours of classroom instruction offered in counties statewide. While content is focused on the interests of home gardeners, 20% of the students who participate are in the green industry and use the classes for career training.

Natural Resources and Sustainability Residential Learning Community

Warner College of Natural Resources and the College of Agriculture at CSU host the Natural Resources and Sustainability Residential Learning Community, where students interested in sustainability live in a community in Summit Hall and take a service based seminar on sustainability. The first class worked to help Great Sand Dunes National Park create the nation’s first Visit Green initiative that helps park visitors learn how to be sustainable in the San Luis Valley. This program is designed to be a pilot for the National Park Service and by using students, helps train the next generation of green workers in tourism and park management.

One Health

The purpose of One Health is to benefit the health of animals, peoples, and environments by collaborating across boundaries in a way that sees and integrates the whole system. We seek to accomplish this through these principles. We see the whole picture. Together, we can create the futures we desire. We engage our partners and vibrant academic community as they search for the relationships and outcomes that create health. When we consider and value diverse perspectives, looking across disciplines, professions, and sectors, the power of collaboration can inspire the futures we wish to birth. We work together. The One Health Institute at CSU is growing through financial support from all eight colleges and the Office of the Vice President for Research. Land-grant roots inspire us to work hard and collaboratively toward health through interdisciplinary research, learning, and discovery that welcomes, and thrives because of, diverse ideas and talents. We don’t work to fight disease. We seek to create health. It’s a positive and proactive movement toward a healthier tomorrow, and it takes diverse people, many new ideas, and many ways of thinking about old ideas.

Partnership for Air Quality, Climate & Health

A CSU Partnership, reaching inward and outward, that provides comprehensive science-vetted information in useful form to stakeholders in air quality, climate, and health issues. The Partnership envisions implementing a structure and support facility that integrates CSU-wide capabilities in air quality, climate, and health in a comprehensive and synergistic way, and that focuses on communicating to stakeholders scientific findings relevant to their unique challenges. The Partnership will enable and foster policy-relevant research aimed at filling knowledge gaps identified jointly with our stakeholders, and will focus on effective partnering to formulate, plan, conduct and disseminate our knowledge in useful formats.

Program for Interdisciplinary Mathematics, Ecology, and Statistics

The Program for Interdisciplinary Mathematics, Ecology, and Statistics (PRIMES) at CSU is designed to address the challenges of studying complex ecological systems. Modern studies of ecological systems incorporate an extremely wide range of scientific and quantitative techniques, from the collection of data in the field, to the modeling of complex systems. Quantitative ecology has become an inherently multi-disciplinary activity. The idea underlying PRIMES is to equip graduate students from ecology, mathematics, and statistics with the skills to work at the interface of the three disciplines and to support research on ecological problems involving advanced quantitative tools. PRIMES activities concentrate in the areas of Ecology of Managed Ecosystems, Ecology of Global Change, Dynamics of Introduced Disease, Aquatic Resources Modeling, and Evolution in Structured Populations. These activities include innovative course offerings, early exposure to team-based research, and the hosting of long- and short-term visitors, workshops, and internships and mentoring for students by ecologists working in national laboratories and agencies.

Protected Area Management & Training

The Warner College of Natural Resources offers the Wildlands and Protected Area Management course. This course has been in place for 17 years with more than 350 past participants from 26 countries. Each year, the course strives for carbon neutrality. This year, it calculated the CO2 emissions emitted by participant travel and course operation, and then offset these emissions by donating money to construct energy efficient cookstoves.

Public Lands History Center

Founded in 2007, the Public Lands History Center at Colorado State University produces historical knowledge that helps resource managers, scientists, and citizens understand and protect public lands and resources. The PLHC’s projects facilitate the development policy on complex issues relating to the environment, land and water used, agriculture, and cultural resource management.

School of Global Environmental Sustainability

The School of Global Environmental Sustainability or SoGES is an umbrella organization that was established in 2008 to encompasses all environmental education and research at the university. The school positions CSU to address the multiple challenges to global sustainability through broad-based research, curricular, and outreach initiatives. Areas of emphasis include food security, poverty, inequality, water management strategies and desertification, globalization, industrial ecology, sustainable engineering, population growth, and urbanization. This approach capitalizes on the University’s historic strength in environmental research and education, and will build upon the education and research that already exists within all eight colleges on campus.

Sustainable Livestock Systems Collaborative

In a move to address the dramatic global demand for safe, high-quality protein-based food sources, Colorado State University has announced the creation of a first-of-its-kind collaborative to support profitable, sustainable and healthy livestock production.

The Sustainable Livestock Systems Collaborative is designed for CSU livestock and animal health experts to work alongside industry, government and other stakeholders in addressing 21st-century challenges as well as training current and future livestock industry professionals.

Spearheaded by the College of Agricultural Sciences and the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, the collaborative will look at enhancing sustainable and healthy livestock systems through the examination of new technologies and disease treatments as well as soil, plant, animal and atmospheric microbiomes, among other areas.

Western Center for Integrated Resource Management

The Western Center for Integrated Resource Management’s mission is to improve the sustainability and profitability of forage-based agriculture and natural resource systems through integrated, innovative multidisplinary research and education programs. The program offers a Master of Agricultural Sciences degree that involves contributing faculty from the College of Agricultural Sciences, the Warner College of Natural Resources, and the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. The long-term goal of the Western Center is to “improve the competitive position and sustainability of independent livestock producers and the economic and environmental health of rural communities.”


Sonia Kreidenweis, professor in Colorado State University’s internationally recognized Atmospheric Science department, studies the nature and behavior of particulate matter in the atmosphere and its effects on climate and visibility. Her group conducts laboratory and field measurements to clarify the relationships between particles and haze and cloud formation, which in turn can affect air quality and precipitation. Most recently, they have been focusing on characterization of particles produced from wild and prescribed fires and have developed new recommendations for how smoke particle optical and cloud-forming properties should be represented in air quality and climate models.


Anthony Marchese and Azer Yalin, associate professors in mechanical engineering, received a National Science Foundation grant to conduct one of the first studies on the emissions produced from algae as a biofuel.

“One of the reasons we’re interested in algae-based biofuels is because of their potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to reduce our dependence on imported oil,” Marchese said. His research areas include alternative fuels, combustion, chemical kinetics, microgravity experiments and diesel emissions. Current research projects include biodiesel chemical kinetics, pollutant formation from algae-based biofuels, exhaust emissions from algal methyl esters, locomotive engine emissions, bio-butanol, heavy fuel aerosols and advanced 2-stroke engines.

Yalin’s research interests include laser-based diagnostics and non-intrusive measurement of gases, plasmas, and plasma-surface interactions (for electric propulsion and plasma processing) as well as laser combustion diagnostics of engines, laser ignition of engines, and laser sensing for environmental and health applications.


Chemistry professor Amy Prieto and her group are interested in developing synthetic methods for making solid state materials with applications in energy production and storage, with a emphasis on using earth abundant materials and developing environmentally safe and sustainable manufacturing methods. She was named a Scialog Fellow by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement for her work developing syntheses for nanoparticles composed of earth abundant elements for applications in photovoltaics and was named a Monfort Professor for her work on developing nanoparticles of magnesium for hydrogen storage.  Prof. Prieto is also interested in developing 3D rechargeable batteries that combine high power and energy densities, are safe, and are made by a scalable, water based electroplating methods.  She founded Prieto Battery Inc. in 2009 to commercialize that battery technology.  She was named the 2011 ExxonMobil Solid State Chemistry Faculty Fellow, an honor awarded to one scientist nationally and was also honored by President Barack Obama at the White House with a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.  She currently has 26 patents issued in the US, the EU, China, Japan, Korea and India, and her batteries are currently on display at the Smithsonian Institute. Most recently, Prof. Prieto was named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Robert Paton, Associate Professor: In collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Colorado School of Mines (CSM), the Paton group are supported by an ARPA-E grant to design new battery materials and molecules using artificial intelligence. They are developing machine learning approaches to predict the performance of new material compositions at high fidelity but lower cost, and using reinforcement learning techniques to automate the identification of new candidate compositions.


Ken Reardon, professor of chemical and biological engineering, is a leading expert on the production of biofuels. Reardon is researching the types of organic materials for use in biofuels and the viability of various biofuels. His biofuels-related research, which began more than 20 years ago with a project on the production of butanol from sugars, now includes studies on bioreactor design and algae.

Reardon is also an expert in biotechnology for the detection of environmental pollutants. In 2009, he worked with Cenergy, the university’s vehicle for commercializing innovative clean and renewable technologies, to spin off OptiEnz Sensors LLC, which will develop, manufacture and sell biosensors to detect food and water contaminants.

Reardon is the CSU site director for the Colorado Center for Biorefining and Biofuels, or C2B2, which was founded in March 2007 by the Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory.


William Parton, senior research scientist at NREL (Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory), is studying how different crops used for biofuels have varying effects on decreasing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. Parton also studies the effects global warming will have on the eastern plains of Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and the western parts of North and South Dakota. Additionally, he has experience studying the potential impact of climatic changes for forest and savanna systems on local, regional and global scales.

Parton, who’s spent the past 38 years working on the development of ecosystems models, was elected as a Resident Distinguished Ecologist at Colorado State University in 2015.


Keith Paustian, soil and crop sciences professor and senior research scientist at CSU’s Natural Resources Ecology Laboratory (NREL), researches the role the agriculture industry can play in greenhouse gas mitigation. Paustian also researches agricultural greenhouse gas emissions and carbon sequestration for the United States inventory. Paustian is involved in developing accounting tools for farmer and ranchers to receive credit under the United States voluntary greenhouse gas reduction program.


Martin Shields, is a professor of economics at Colorado State and director of the Regional Economics Institute. Shields is knowledgeable of the clean energy industry cluster in northern Colorado and its impact on the region and the state. This region is well positioned to become a leader in the growing global market for clean-energy technologies.


Dennis Ojima is an Emeritus Faculty in the Ecosystem Science and Sustainability Department and Senior Research Scientist in the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory in the Warner College of Natural Resources. He’s also a Senior Scholar at the H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics, and the Environment and the president of the Ecological Society of America.

Dr. Ojima’s research areas include global change effects on ecosystems around the world. His research addresses climate and land use changes on ecosystems, carbon accounting methods for forest carbon sequestration, and adaptation and mitigation strategies to climate change. These research efforts have led to his successful development of the multi-institutional consortium effort to host the North Central Climate Science Center at Colorado State for the Department of Interior. He is the Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow, serving on the Human Dimensions of Global Change and the Board for International Scientific Organizations for the National Research Council, and has received recognition for his international contributions for his involvement in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment receiving which received the 2005 Zayed International Prize for the Environment and the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

Dr. Melissa McHaleAssistant Professor in Ecosystem Science and Sustainability, and an Honorary Research Fellow at the Wits City Institute, at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa.  Her focus is on urban ecology and sustainability which encompasses transdisciplinary study of complex social-ecological systems, social drivers of urban ecosystem structure and function, and global urbanization patterns and processes. Dr. McHale has also developed an internationally renowned research and education program in South Africa, where she provides students with unique opportunities to work with underprivileged communities on their greatest sustainability challenges.


Dr. John Sanderson is the Director of the Center for Collaborative Conservation, an endowed center in CSU’s Warner College of Natural Resources.

Since 2005, Sanderson has worked for the Nature Conservancy of Colorado, most recently as Director of Science, leading a staff of ecologists who work on a wide range of conservation challenges, including protecting lands in the fast-growing West, creating tools to assess the ecological state of rivers, restoring Front Range forests, and advancing policy to reduce greenhouse gases.  After earning his B.S. in Engineering from Purdue University and an M.S. in Botany from the University of Vermont, Sanderson got his start in Colorado in 1994 doing field inventory and conservation planning for the Colorado Natural Heritage Program.  He later earned his Ph.D. in the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology researching intermountain playa wetlands in Colorado’s San Luis Valley. Sanderson is passionate about figuring out how we work together to maintain Colorado’s natural treasures as our population explodes and our world continues to warm.


Adirane “Addy” Elliott is the coordinator for the Interdisciplinary Program in Organic Agriculture. Her research focuses on soil fertility in organic farming systems.

Elliott teaches environmental issues in agriculture, composting principles and practices, topics in organic agriculture, and diagnosis and treatment in organic fields.


Eugene Chen, John K. Stille Endowed Chair in Chemistry and Millennial Professor of Polymer Science and Sustainability, directs the Center for Sustainable Monomers and Polymers (CSuMAP) since 2012. The overarching goal of CSuMAP is to be a focal point for research and education in developing sustainable approaches to chemicals, monomers, and materials that our society depends on. His group has invented several patented (6) and patent-pending (2) intrinsically recyclable plastics with infinite chemical recyclability and tunable properties or performances, as well as biomass conversion platforms to convert nonedible plant biomass into renewable chemicals, building block monomers, and bioplastics. He has co-founded a start-up company aiming to bring the infinitely recyclable plastic technology into the marketplace to gradually replace today’s non-recyclable plastics that are not only accelerating depletion of finite natural resources but also polluting our environment.

His group’s sustainability related work has been recognized by the Excellence in Commercialization Award in 2012 by the Colorado Cleantech Industry Association and the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award in 2015 by the US Environmental Protection Agency. Most recently, he has given live broadcast lectures and perspectives on sustainability topics at the National Academy of Sciences Workshop in 2019 and the National Science Foundation/American Chemical Society Colloquium in 2019.


Dr. Robin Reid is a professor in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability. She comes from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi, Kenya, where she led research, education and outreach on conservation and development issues in Africa, Latin America, Asia and the western United States.

Robin is a senior research scientist at Colorado State’s Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory. She is a CSU alumnus, having received her Ph.D. in Rangeland Ecosystem Science in 1992. In October of 2009, Reid was featured on CBS’ 60 Minutes. Reid was awarded the Ecological Society of America 2012 Sustainability Science Award. The prestigious award is given annually to authors of a peer reviewed paper published in the past five years that makes the greatest contribution to the emerging science of ecosystem and regional sustainability through the integration of ecological and social sciences.

Lou Swanson, vice provost for Outreach and Strategic Partnerships, is a sociologist whose research has focused on locality-based policy for sustainable range management and community development, rancher and farm perceptions of cooperatives, and the transition of ranching and rural life in Colorado. Swanson also has been talking with agricultural groups across the country about the transition from a supply-driven domestic food system toward demand-driven global food systems.


Alan Knapp is leading a national team that will experimentally impose severe drought in Great Plains grasslands and evaluate how the landscape responds — the first large-scale project of its kind.

NSF awarded $3.7 million to Knapp, a biology professor and senior ecologist with the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology, and principal investigator on the project. Research in Knapp’s lab focuses on plants, with a goal of understanding ecological patterns and processes from the leaf to the ecosystem level. The lab’s research is primarily conducted in the field. Key areas of interest include plant physiological ecology, ecosystems ecology, climate change, long-term ecological research, invasive plant species, restoration ecology, fire and herbivory effects on communities and ecosystems.


Diana Wall, one of Colorado State’s most distinguished scientists, is an ecosystem scientist in the biology department and director of CSU’s School of Global Environmental Sustainability (SoGES). Wall has completed 22 research seasons in the Antarctic Dry Valleys examining how soil food webs and ecosystem processes respond to global change.

She contributed to a special 121-page report submitted to President Barack Obama that urges government intervention on threats to the nation’s biodiversity and ecosystems.

Wall is the 2012 SCAR President’s Medal for Excellence in Antarctic Research from the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research — an interdisciplinary committee of the prestigious International Council for Science. The award is presented once every three years.

Dr. Linda Nagel, Head, Forest and Rangeland Stewardship has a significant, nation-wide, research study to evaluate climate change impacts on forest ecosystems of various types throughout the U.S.


Holmes Rolston, III is widely recognized as the father of environmental ethics as an academic discipline. Rolston has shaped the essential nature, scope and issues of the discipline.

A University Distinguished Professor of philosophy at Colorado State and a noted author, Rolston said he’s seeing an evolution of clergy concerned about better stewardship for the Earth. He teaches environmental ethics at Colorado State.


Dr. William H. Farland is the Vice President for Research at Colorado State and a Professor in the Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. He serves as the chief institutional advocate and facilitator for faculty research activities and is responsible for programmatic excellence in research.

Farland was the highest-ranking scientist at the Environmental Protection Agency before joining CSU. His 27-year federal career has been characterized by a commitment to the development of national and international approaches to interdisciplinary research in addition to testing and assessment of the fate and effects of environmental agents.


Bill Ritter, Colorado’s 41st Governor and former District Attorney for the City and County of Denver, is the founding director of the Center for the New Energy Economy. The Center is a privately-funded initiative to support the growth of a clean energy economy across the United States at Colorado State University.

The mission of the Center is to incorporate best practices from around the nation and world to accelerate the development of clean energy, which includes technologies and resources who life-cycle impacts are beneficial to national security, economic vitality, energy supply sustainability, environmental health, public health, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the conservation and restoration of ecosystem services, social equity, high-quality jobs, and wise use of water and other critical natural resources.

Ritter has been working directly with Governors, legislators, regulators, planners, policy makers and other decision makers by providing technical assistance to help them create the policies and practices that will facilitate America’s transition to a clean energy economy. He has been recognized internationally and has received numerous awards for his efforts.

Kyle L. Saunders is associate professor of political science whose interests within environmental politics include energy policy and the politics of resource depletion and “peak oil.” Saunders is currently writing a book on energy policy and the frames used in the public and political debates on alternative energy in the United States. He also is an expert in other fields of American politics, including U.S. and Colorado elections, parties and public opinion.

Robert J. Duffy is a professor of political science at Colorado State. Duffy’s research and interests include American politics with emphases on elections, interest groups and energy policy. He also is interested in renewable energy and environmental politics and policy issues.


Carol Dollard is an energy engineer with Facilities Management and works to make Colorado State operations more sustainable.

These efforts include six photovoltaic installations including a 5,300 kW solar plant on the Foothills Campus, a biomass plant that burns wood chips from beetle killed trees, and a wide variety of energy & water efficiency projects. She advises the Design & Construction staff on LEED projects — the university currently has ten LEED Gold buildings. She also leads a team that conducts the University’s annual greenhouse gas inventory and produces biannual updates to the CSU Climate Action Plan.

Justin Sambur, Assistant Professor: The Sambur group focuses on developing the fundamental science that will lead to next generation renewable energy production systems. This research contributes to the “State of Sustainability” at CSU, which focuses on conserving and protecting the world around us, by developing fundamental science knowledge that will enable society to lower its dependence on fossil fuels.

Fast Charging and Long-lasting Energy Storage Materials. My group is using single particle-level measurements to study pseudocapacitors, which have the potential to charge/discharge in seconds and last for one million charging cycles. Pseudocapacitors are fascinating because they store charge throughout the material bulk, improving energy density, but do so via a fast intercalation process not limited by solid-state diffusion, improving rate. Unfortunately, the mechanism of pseudocapacitance is unclear. My team is working to understand the mechanism of pseudocapacitance and leverage structure/composition/property relationships to design pseudocapacitor hosts. In our 2019 PNAS paper, we pioneered the development of single nanoparticle electro-optical imaging to understand the charge storage mechanism in pseudocapacitive WO3 nanorods. We discovered a novel structure/activity relationship between nanoparticle length and charge storage: longer nanorods store more charge than smaller nanorods, likely due to a surface step edge density. In line with our long-term goal, we uncovered that the arrangement of nanoparticle building blocks matters: charging/discharging durability depends on the contact area and arrangement between two nanoparticles.

Photovoltaic Efficiency Doubling via Hot Carrier Photochemistry in 2D Materials. Atomically thin 2D materials such as monolayer MoS2 and WS2 have the potential to transform the way we produce energy. Amazingly, these ultrathin materials can theoretically generate 450-1800 kW power/kg material; bulk Si produces 2.5 kW/kg. The key challenge in the field is to extract charge carriers from the ultrathin materials, especially before they undergo electron-hole recombination at defect sites. In the past three years, we have worked to establish a new paradigm in the ultrathin 2D materials field: liquid electrolytes conformally coat and efficiently extract charge carriers from 2D materials (Nano Letters, 2019; J. Phys. Chem. C. 2018). We have “healed” chalcogen vacancies in MoSe2 using focused laser beams, thereby significantly improving the photocurrent (ACS Appl. Mater. 2019). Our immediate research plans are to investigate hot carrier photochemistry processes such as carrier multiplication in 2D materials, which has the potential to double the photocurrent efficiency in a solar cell.

Rick Finke, Professor: Sustainability related research in the group of Professor Richard Finke takes shape in several forms: (i) catalysis, the most fundamental topic underlying sustainable chemistry, including kinetics and mechanisms of catalytic processes; (ii) solar energy conversion via water-oxidation catalysis to form hydrogen fuels; and (iii) capture of the oxidized intermediates in water-oxidation catalysis for use in oxygenating organic substrates in a more  sustainable, energy efficient fashion.


Brian Dunbar is executive director of the Institute for the Built Environment and professor of construction management at Colorado State. Dunbar’s teaching, research and project work focuses on environmentally sustainable design and construction materials, methods and systems. He also coordinates the graduate emphasis in sustainable building at Colorado State and has developed university and professional courses on sustainable building.

The Institute for the Built Environment is an interdisciplinary research institute that teaches students and industry professionals healthy and sustainable building strategies. Brian is a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED faculty member with the U.S. Green Building Council and serves on the Greening Schools committee for the Colorado Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council.


Dr. John Volckens’ research interests include the development of methods for aerosol and air pollution measurement, combustion emissions and their associated health effects, and the development of improved diagnostic techniques for assessing human exposures to and adverse health effects of air pollution. He is Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences.

In August 2012, Volckens received two grants worth $2.5 million from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, a division of the Centers for Disease Control. He developed a dust spectrometer that will capture and measure inhalable dust — about the size of flour dust — before it settles. He also created an inexpensive, lightweight device that workers could wear on their shoulders to immediately sample their exposure.


Tony Cheng, co-founder of EGWG, the Environmental Governance Working Group; Director of the Colorado Forest Restoration Institute; and Professor in Forest and Rangeland Stewardship, has been requested to assist the Colorado State Legislature and Governor Hickenlooper’s office in crafting forest policy considering the recent wildfire events in Colorado.

Cheng’s research interests include assessing collaborative approaches to forest landscape restoration and examining institutional arrangements for payment-for-watershed-services on federal public lands. His interests include policies, collaborative arrangements, and strategies involving government, private enterprise, and community non-governmental organizations to produce resilient forest ecosystems and sustain livelihoods in a transparent, accountable, and an equitable manner. He facilitates collaborative assessments, monitoring, and adaptive management, working with local and regional forest health collaborations in Colorado and the Southwestern U.S.

Courtney Shultz, Professor of natural resource policy and governance engages in research investigating the governance of landscape-scale forest restoration projects, the integration of climate change and resilience considerations into forest planning, the role of citizen science programs within public land agencies, multi-scale monitoring strategies, and aspects of fire management policy.


Rick Aster, department chair and associate professor in the Department of Geosciences, researches sedimentary petrology and geochemistry, fluid/rock interaction, chemical weathering, clastic diagenesis, and clay mineralogy.

Aster teaches an interdisciplinary introductory course on the natural gas industry including geology, exploration, production, transportation and environmental issues. CSU now offers this course on the “Fundamentals of Natural Gas” because of the increased demand for natural gas and greater public interest in gas drilling and production in Colorado.

Lisa Stright, Assistant Professor, has emerging work in sequestering carbon as in the process of extracting oil/natural gas.


Bryan Willson, mechanical engineering professor, is founder and director of Colorado State’s Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory, a world leader in the study of internal combustion engines, natural gas technology, algae biofuels, intelligent electric grids, advanced building technology, technology for the developing world, and clean cookstoves. He is active in technology commercialization and is founder and board member of Envirofit International Ltd., a non-profit corporation develops clean energy technology for the developing world, with particular focus on two-stroke engines and clean cookstoves.

In 2009, Willson was recognized by Scientific American, joining President Barack Obama, Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg, in its inaugural list of the “Scientific American 10” — ten individuals who have made significant contributions to guiding science to serve humanity on a global basis.


David W. J. Thompson is an atmospheric science professor at CSU whose current research focuses on improving our understanding of global climate variability using observational data.

His interests include large-scale atmospheric dynamics, the interpretation of observed climate change, stratosphere/troposphere coupling, ocean/atmosphere interaction, decadal climate variability, and the climate impacts of large-scale atmospheric phenomena. He was the lead research author on a recent paper that was published in the science journal Nature. Thompson and his colleagues made a discovery that could help to solve a major atmospheric science and climate mystery.

In 2007, Popular Science magazine named David Thompson one of the “Brilliant 10” young scientists to watch.


Michele Betsill, professor of political science, teaches courses in international relations, global environmental politics and qualitative research methods.

Her research investigates the ways in which climate change is governed from the global to the local level across the public and private spheres. Her current projects focus on the politics of carbon markets, transnational climate governance, the role of local authorities in transitioning to a low-carbon future, and institutional reform for sustainable development. She is also the founder and co-leader of the Environmental Governance Working Group at CSU.

Prior to coming to CSU, she was a post-doctoral fellow with the Global Environmental Assessment project at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.


Rich Conant is a research scientist at the university’s Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory, a faculty member in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability and the Warner College Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. His expertise is in agricultural and grazing land carbon dynamics and greenhouse gas management. He contributed to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change documents and greenhouse gas inventory development, was a lead author for the recently published U.S. State of the Carbon Cycle Report and is co-principle investigator on a project to document carbon management and emission reduction opportunities for Colorado’s agricultural, grazing and forest lands.

Stephen Ogle, research scientist at CSU’s Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory, and a faculty member in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability, studies the impact of land use and management on greenhouse gas emissions. He currently leads U.S. assessments of soil nitrous oxide emissions from U.S. agricultural lands, which is used for national greenhouse gas reporting and climate change policy. His research also includes evaluation of bioenergy crop production on greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural soils.


Dr. Rebecca Niemiec is leading a working group that, among other things, is evaluating public perception of wolf reintroduction in Colorado and potential message framing research related to that topic.

The department’s work is focused around Human Wildlife Values and their effort to assist wildlife management agencies understand the publics they serve. These efforts span the entire nation.


A former full-time freelance writer of essays and magazine and newspaper articles, English professor John Calderazzo teaches nonfiction writing workshops and literature classes. He’s the author of a how-to writing textbook, a children’s science book, and a creative nonfiction book. He writes about the nature of the personal essay, natural history, and the interrelationships of science and culture. His work has been cited in Best American Stories and Best American Essays and has appeared in Georgia ReviewAudubonOrionWitness magazines.

He is a winner of a Best CSU Teacher award and a creative writing fellowship from the Colorado Council on the Arts. He co-founded and co-directs Changing Climates@CSU, an innovative series of talks and educational initiatives that seeks to infuse climate change teaching across the university curriculum and raise ecological literacy.

Professor SueEllen Campbell teaches courses in nature and environmental literature, 20th-century fiction and nonfiction, literary theory, and research methods. Her books include The Face of the Earth: Natural Landscapes, Science, and Culture (2011); Even Mountains Vanish: Searching for Solace in an Age of Extinction (2003); and Bringing the Mountain Home (1996). She has also published numerous articles about American environmental literature and ecocriticism; is coeditor of the University of Virginia Press ecocritical book series Under the Sign of Nature; and serves on advisory boards for the School of Global Environmental Sustainability and the Rocky Mountain Land Library. She is codirector of Changing Climates@CSU, a multidisciplinary climate-change education and outreach initiative.


Matt Shores, Professor and Department Chair: The Shores group collaborates extensively with computational and synthetic chemists to develop methods for employing Earth-abundant reagents in photocatalysis schemes. We seek detailed knowledge of the physical and chemical properties of Earth-abundant compounds, and accurate descriptions and synthetic control of electronic structure in ground and (photo)excited states. Our work has been supported by the Catalysis Collaboratory for Light-activated Earth Abundant Reagents (C-CLEAR), an NSF-EPA supported group that aims to replace expensive and/or toxic 1-electron reagents with catalytic processes, toward sustainable synthesis of complex molecules relevant to high-value chemicals and pharmaceuticals.

Tony Rappe, Professor: The Rappe group has studied sustainability questions since the 1980’s at CSU. In the 1980’s efforts were focused on methane activation, nitrogen activation, and deNOx catalysis. The 90’s saw a shift to polymer catalysis including work on a recyclable disposable diaper. The 2000’s saw a shift toward earth abundant photocatalysis. Each of these phases involved close collaboration with experimental colleagues. In recent years our work has been supported by the Catalysis Collaboratory for Light-activated Earth Abundant Reagents (C-CLEAR), an NSF-EPA supported group that aims to replace expensive and/or toxic 1-electron reagents with catalytic processes, toward sustainable synthesis of complex molecules relevant to high-value chemicals and pharmaceuticals.


W.S. Sampath, mechanical engineering professor, spent 16 years perfecting his solar-cell technology. Sampath developed a continuous, automated manufacturing process for solar panels using glass coating with a cadmium telluride thin film instead of the standard high-cost crystalline silicon.

Travis Bailey and David (Qiang) Wang, assistant professors of chemical and biological engineering, are exploring strategies for creating new polymeric materials for use in photovoltaic devices and novel methods of processing those materials that may lead to enhanced performance and overall efficiencies. Their research is focused on the synthesis and modeling of semiconducting block copolymers and the study of the self-assembly behavior of those materials in the presence of applied magnetic fields.

Their efforts represent a mix of both experimental (Bailey) and computational (Wang) approaches.

Assistant chemistry professor Chuck Henry‘s research focuses on new bioanalytical and environmental measurement tools such as the use of new “lab-on-a-chip” chemistry. This technology will reduce the steps of a traditional chemical assay to a single device the size of a credit card. Related to toxicology, these methods can help understand the mechanisms associated with aerosol toxicity.

Henry is co-founder and CEO of Advanced MicroLabs LLC, which was formed to commercialize a low-cost “lab-on-a-chip” technology. Advanced Microlabs has raised more than $3 million in grant funding and is working to bring an on-line monitoring sensor to market. Henry is a consultant and collaborator for Legacy Biosciences, a small pharmaceutical formulations company based in Loveland, Colo., and the Boulder-based Crystal Diagnostics, which is developing a technology to detect pathogenic bacteria in waste and recreational waters. In his ten-year tenure at CSU, Henry has submitted eight invention disclosures.


Kathryn Stoner, wildlife professor and department head, was trained as a tropical ecologist. Her research is focused on mammals, including bats and primates, though she has also worked with large cats and rodents. Many of her projects lean towards developing a better understanding of the animal and its environment, with the goal of promoting species and habitat conservation.

Dr. David Anderson, director and chief scientist of the university’s Colorado Natural Heritage Program, studied botany and has worked throughout Colorado studying rare plants and plant communities.

Chris Myrick, fisheries professor, studies the potential impacts of hydroelectric development on wildlife and possible ways to mitigate those impacts.

Faculty from across the College have engaged in an effort to evaluate oil/gas development impacts, in a Chevron funded project, on one of their properties in Western Colorado.


Mark Paschke, Ph.D., is the Research Associate Dean for the Warner College of Natural Resources and Associate Professor and Shell Endowed Chair of Restoration Ecology in the Department of Forest and Rangeland Stewardship.

Paschke has made significant contributions to the field of Restoration Ecology. In the past decade he has served as PI or coPI on approximately $9 million worth of basic and applied studies funded by diverse sources. His research focuses on restoration and ecology of disturbed ecosystems, soil and rhizosphere biology, and ecology of invasive plant species.


Wade O. Troxell, associate dean for Research and Economic Development in the College of Engineering, studies “smart power grid” applications that are necessary for improving the critical U.S. electric power infrastructure. Through his research, he explores networked distributed energy resources related to the environment and renewable technologies, stable and firm power systems and the integration of renewable energy such as wind and solar into the power market.

Peter Young, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, works on the development of analysis and design techniques for large scale uncertain systems, and robust learning controllers, as well as a number of specific application areas. These include control of HVAC systems, power system distribution grids and sustainable energy, and control of biological systems.


Paul Hudnut is a longtime entrepreneur who teaches management in the College of Business.

He also works with business and engineering students to develop sustainable business plans for technological advancements developed in CSU’s Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory — plans that are in use in countries, such as the Philippines, India and Nepal.

He is a founder of the business college’s Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise master’s degree program and the Global Innovation Center for Energy, Health and the Environment in the engines lab.

In 2010, Hudnut was awarded the Olympus Innovation Award for his creation and development of the Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise Program.

Thomas J. Dean serves as the Daniel’s Ethics Professor and professor of entrepreneurship and sustainable enterprise at the College of Business. Having authored some of the first articles and courses in environmental entrepreneurship, he is an internationally renowned academic pioneer in the field of entrepreneurship and sustainability.

He focuses his programmatic and conceptual efforts on understanding the opportunities present in emerging environmental trends. He teaches in CSU’s Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise MBA Program and sits on the advisory boards of the Clean Energy Supercluster and School of Global Environmental Sustainability.


Jan Leach is a University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management at Colorado State. A microbiologist and plant pathologist, Leach is an authority on the molecular biology of how plants and pathogens interact; she studies how plants defend themselves against pathogens. Leach has examined issues surrounding rice as a grass model for discovery and testing.

Colorado State researchers, through the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences and the CSU Agricultural Experiment Station, have conducted research to determine oilseed yields on several varieties of crops including sunflowers, mustard and canola that are used for biodiesel production.


Biology professor June Medford’s lab developed plant sentinels that detect environmental contaminants. Her lab is working to understand plants and their knowledge for human and environmental use.

Medford and her team enabled a computer-designed detection trait to work in a plant by rewiring the plant’s natural signaling process so that a detection incident produces loss of green color. This work — an important step in a long process — could eventually be used for a wide range of applications such as security in airports or monitoring for pollutants.


Reagan Waskom currently serves as the Director of the Colorado Water Institute and as Director of the Colorado State University Water Center.

Dr. Waskom is a member of the Department of Soil & Crop Sciences faculty with a joint appointment to the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Reagan also serves as the Regional Director of the USDA-CSREES Integrated Water Program. His research and outreach projects include irrigation water optimization in water limited environments, evaluation of municipal water conservation programs, ammonia volatilization from sprinkler applied swine effluent, aquifer vulnerability to NO3 contamination, evaluation of runoff water quality from western meadows, and development of best management practices for crop production.


Professor John Labadie Ph.D., Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is also currently Coordinator for the Water Resources Planning and Management Division of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Dr. Labadie specializes in application of decision support systems, mathematical programming, knowledge-based systems, and geographic information systems to complex problems in water resources and environmental management.


James Pritchett, Ph.D. in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, focuses his research and outreach efforts on applied economic issues important to stakeholders in Colorado agriculture and throughout the West. Most recently, he focused on how farms might make the best use of limited water resources, the economic activity generated by irrigated agriculture in rural regional economies, and the perceptions that households have for water use.

He’s invested effort into understanding if crop insurance is an effective risk management tool for dryland wheat farmers, the economics of animal disease, and creating business plans for small and medium sized businesses. His research has been supported by the USDA-NRI competitive grants program, the Colorado Water Resources Research Institute, the USDA Agricultural Research Service, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and Colorado’s Agriculture Experiment Station. Additionally, Professor Pritchett rides his bike to work 250 days a year from a nearby mountain town.


Ken Carlson is an Associate Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Colorado State University with more than 20 years of experience in water treatment, wastewater handling and environmental engineering. Dr. Carlson is the co-director of the Colorado Energy-Water Consortium, a public-private partnership that is addressing water issues associated with oil and gas exploration and production in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region. Current work with the consortium includes studies related to fuel source water intensity, fracturing fluid treatment and optimization of water management.

Recent research interests have included drinking water treatment, fate of emerging contaminants in the environment and agricultural pollutants including nutrients, pharmaceutical compounds and pesticides.


Kevin Crooks is a professor in the Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology and in the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology. His scientific research addresses wildlife conservation and sustainability issues along the Front Range, as well as in other areas of the nation experiencing rapid urban growth. Using a variety of scientific techniques, including field observations, laboratory experimentation, computer modeling and human dimension surveys, Crooks examines the compelling impacts of anthropogenic disturbances on natural system caused by urban sprawl and habitat fragmentation.

Crooks has studied a wide variety of species including prairie dogs, bobcats, pumas, skunks and foxes. Among his many research grants, his most noteworthy is his five-year NSF grant of $2.3 million through the Ecology of Infectious Disease program to investigate the effects of urban fragmentation on disease dynamics in wild cats.