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Summer Sustainable Solutions Collaboratory 2011


The proposals for this summer's Solutions Collaboratory have been reviewed and eight projects were selected to become full-fledged projects.  To find out more about these projects and the trans-disciplinary teams working on them, visit the project page.


Portland State University seeks to become an internationally renowned university recognized for its excellence in the field of sustainability. We strive to serve as a leading academic laboratory for developing sustainable solutions to the complex, interconnected problems now facing us using trans-disciplinary approaches in partnership with businesses, government, and non-governmental organizations. The Institute for Sustainable Solutions (ISS) is the focal point for inter- and trans-disciplinary research, education, and outreach in sustainability at PSU.

In support of PSU’s sustainability initiatives, the Institute is accepting proposals for working groups as part of our Summer Sustainable Solutions Collaboratory (SSC) program. The SSC program aims to facilitate trans-disciplinary teaching, research, and outreach. Working groups will collaborate on projects that result in specific outcomes, such as (1) synthesis papers, models, etc., (2) grant proposals, and/or (3) courses or workshops.

The objective of the Summer SSC program is to foster inter- and trans-disciplinary scholarship at PSU. Some faculty members may be obligated to serve the initiatives of their academic disciplines and departments during the academic year, and the Summer SSC program provides an opportunity for faculty and graduate students to collaborate with colleagues from other disciplines and community partners on integrated research and sustainability-related activities during the summer term. Working group participants will benefit from the growing local, state, national, and international recognition of the Institute, and will have access to our physical facilities and support staff. Summer SSC working groups and their members will be recognized on the Institute’s website with links to their faculty appointment departments or other affiliations. They will also be recognized as ISS Summer Fellows.



Working group proposals must support Portland State’s sustainability priorities to become a national and international leader in scholarship and education focused on integrated, systems-based approaches to sustainability. Proposals should embody some aspect of Portland State’s “living laboratory” approach, which is defined as solutions-focused teaching, research, and/or service/outreach. Working group participants may consist of PSU faculty, PSU graduate students, or other collaborators whose work is well aligned with the objectives and approaches of the proposal. All proposals must have a PSU faculty acting as one of the Principal Investigators. Ideally, working group participants should be engaged in research that is aligned with and complementary to ongoing sustainability research activities at Portland State University. In particular, we are seeking proposals that create innovative and sustainable solutions


Support and Benefits

Summer SSC working group participants will have the opportunity to become part of Portland State’s growing community of faculty, staff, and students engaged in sustainability research, teaching, and practice. Working group proposals may include requests for summer faculty salary support and benefits, graduate student stipends, non-PSU participant support, travel, and other project-related expenditures.


Application Procedure

Proposals should include the following information:

  • Project title and 300 word abstract describing the objectives and anticipated outcomes of the working group
  • Name and contact information for Principal Investigator(s)
  • Problem statement – clear and concise statement of the importance of the issue (1 page maximum)
  • Proposed activities – brief description of project approach and methods (2 pages maximum)
  • Projected outcomes – brief description of the specific expected outcomes of the project (e.g., synthesis paper, grant proposal, course) (1 page maximum)
  • Timetable of activities, including proposed start and end dates
  • List of participants’ names and affiliations and a description of their expertise and anticipated roles in the project. Also note whether each participant has agreed to participate (1 page maximum)
  • 2 page (NSF format) CVs of each Principal Investigator
  • Budget (if funding support is requested)

Working Group proposals should be question-driven (i.e., not purely descriptive) and solutions oriented. They will be evaluated primarily on the significance and creativity of the ideas under consideration. Proposals should provide a clear rationale for how the proposed activities are trans-disciplinary and solutions focused in nature, and why they would be most effectively executed via ISS (as opposed to, for example, the PI’s home department). Working groups should include a diverse array of participants who are committed to the project and are qualified to execute it.

All applications should be submitted electronically to Beth Lloyd, We will accept and review proposals on an ongoing basis until no later than 5 pm on Friday, May 6, 2011. If a working group proposal includes significant community engagement as part of its planned summer activities, a letter of support from the community partner is encouraged.


Selection Process

A selection committee for the Summer Sustainable Solutions Collaboratory program will review applications and make recommendations to the Director of the Institute for Sustainable Solutions, who will select the working groups. PIs will be informed of the decision no later than late May 2011.