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Center for Engineering Sustainability and Resilience

Engineering a sustainable future through interdisciplinary research and education

Fall 2021 Seed Funding Call for Proposals

CESR is pleased to announce a new call for proposals, to be awarded in Fall 2021.  Through the generosity of a McCormick donor, $240,000 in funds are available for innovative, high-risk, and/or enabling collaborative research seed funding. 

Find the call for proposal details, submission instructions, and read about previous winning awards here.

Northwestern One Book Selection for 2021-2022 Discusses Climate Change and Sustainability

Hope Jahren


Northwestern One Book selects “The Story of More: How We Got to Climate Change and Where We Go from Here,” by bestselling author Hope Jahren for the 2021-2022 school year.  The focus on sustainability is evident from CESR’s representation on the One Book Steering Committee.  This includes CESR Directors Bill Miller (faculty chair) and Jennifer Dunn and faculty affiliates Neal Blair, Jim Hambleton, Adilson Motter, Justin Notestein, Aaron Packman, Linsey Seitz, and Mark Werwath.

The latest by the bestselling author of “Lab Girl,” the book is an exploration of the consequences of population growth — from 3800 years ago in Mesopotamia when the population was approximately 100 million to the present day — and human habits of consumption on the planet and the actions that we all can take to fight back.

“Jahren explains how tremendous advances in health care, sanitation, agricultural productivity, energy production and technological innovation allowed the population to reach more than 7 billion. However, this process has also resulted in inequitable resource distribution, increased waste, environmental degradation, biodiversity loss, and a rapid rise in greenhouse gas levels leading to global temperature increases and sea level rise,” said Bill Miller, faculty chair of the One Book committee, professor of chemical and biological Engineering, and director of the Center for Engineering Sustainability and Resilience (CESR) at Northwestern Engineering.

Read the announcement on Northwestern Now



About the Center

The Center for Engineering Sustainability and Resilience at Northwestern Engineering aims to tackle complex sustainability challenges like climate change, water quality, clean energy, and pollution through research and educational efforts that span multiple departments and disciplines.

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CESR Seed Grants

2020 Seed Funding Awards announced to support innovative, high-risk, and/or enabling collaborative research to enhance engineering sustainability and resilience. Four interdisciplinary teams of faculty members have been awarded $60,000 each to support 18-month collaborative research projects. All four projects represent new collaborations among the faculty members and provide support for graduate student(s) and/or postdoctoral fellow(s). Results from these projects will be presented at a Center for Engineering Sustainability and Resilience poster session in spring 2022 and will provide preliminary data to support proposals for funding from federal agencies, foundations and/or industry.

See our CESR Seed Grants page to learn about the winning projects from both 2020 and 2019 cohorts



SUSPIRE: Sustainable Urban Systems: Predictive, Interconnected, Resilient and Evolving

SUSPIRE Workshop July 16 & 17, 2019

This workshop was organized by Northwestern University, Argonne National Laboratory, the University of Chicago, and many other partners with support from NSF to address natural and climate, technological, and societal disruptions that will transform urban systems. SUSPIRE brought together more than 100 Chicago and Great Lakes area community members and stakeholders drawn from academia, industry, foundations, community organizations, government, technology and environmental organizations, and the arts and humanities to lay the groundwork for a sustainable urban systems research network.

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The Center for Engineering Sustainability and Resilience is part of the McCormick School of Engineering.



Learn about our research that focuses on sustainable use of materials in the construction of engineered systems.

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Discover the groups with whom the center combines and amplifies efforts with across campus.

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Meet the Center for Engineering Sustainability and Resilience's advisory board and affiliated faculty.
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