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Research Centers and Institutes

As a Polytechnic Institution, Cal Poly is actively involved in both discipline specific and interdisciplinary research on sustainability as it relates to numerous fields of study.  Use these resources to learn about research at Cal Poly and to connect with faculty.

CAFES Center for Sustainability

The College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CAFES) launched the CAFES Center for Sustainability in Winter 2010. The new center serves as a catalyst for new curricula, educational programs, and research that address sustainability topics in agriculture and environmental stewardship. The center brings increased awareness and support to many of the College's existing initiatives in sustainability, such as its programs for soil and water conservation, organic fruit and vegetables, insect pest bio-control, grass-fed beef and lamb, composting, xerophytic landscaping, sustainable viticulture and forestry, and Fair Trade chocolates. The center also provides a CAFES link to University-wide sustainability efforts, making it easier for students, staff and faculty to forge and cultivate interdisciplinary collaborations.

California Center for Construction Education

The California Center for Construction Education is an educational outreach unit designed to provide practitioner education, applied research services, and consultation to the design and construction industry in the state of California and to serve the community at large as a national clearinghouse for industry leadership, knowledge, technology, and innovation.  This initiative focuses on seeking to educate decision makers in the construction industry about how the global and local drivers of sustainability are likely to affect their decisions.

Cal Poly Irrigation Training & Research Center

The Cal Poly ITRC is a center of excellence housed within the BioResource and Agricultural Engineering (BRAE) Department.  The first commitment of ITRC is to enhance Cal Poly's strong irrigation teaching program through outside activities in training, research, and technical support.  Irrigation faculty members comprise the board of directors; an industry advisory board provides guidance and support.  ITRC has been a major innovator in water-related peak load reduction and electrical energy conservation for the California Energy Commission, utilities, and others.

Electric Power Institute

The Electric Power Institute at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California has been promoting power engineering education and research since its establishment in 1971.  EPI serves as an interface between the university and the electric power industry and also serves as a center for electric power oriented activity within the university. The Power Quality Technology Center is part of the EPI and is involved with power quality research.

Environmental Biotechnology Institute

The mission of the Environmental Biotechnology Institute (EBI) is to develop and apply biological tools to address environmental concerns and discover new resources through collaborative interdisciplinary research and education.  Biotechnology can be used to assess the well-being of ecosystems, transform pollutants into benign substances, generate biodegradable substances from renewable resources and develop environmentally safe manufacturing and disposal processes.

Global Waste Research Institute

In 2009, the Cal Poly College of Engineering announced the establishment of the Global Waste Research Institute (GWRI) , a collaborative effort between Cal Poly and industry to promote the development of sustainable waste treatment technologies and advance current practices in resource management.  Funded by an initial $1 million grant from Waste Connections, Inc., the Institute will engage faculty and students in projects that investigate all aspects of wastes and byproducts from initial generation to final disposal.

Resilient Communities Research Institute

Resilient Communities Research Institute (RCRI) in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED) is an applied research unit devoted to advancing the application of knowledge and practice that improves the quality and safety of the built environment.  The RCRI assembles faculty, supervised students and professional affiliates to work on projects of faculty interest and community and professional need, focusing on the built and ecological environments and the factors that shape them.  Past projects have included development of climate action plans for the City of Benecia and the City of San Luis Obispo, and development of a comprehensive and linked "Green Experimentation Grounds" including Poly Canyon, courtyards, rooftops, the Solar Decathlon house and the solar cooled Hay House.

The Institute for Advanced Technology and Public Policy

The Institute for Advanced Technology and Public Policy mission is to develop and promote practical solutions to real-world problems by informing and driving public policy through advanced technology. Interdisciplinary teams of students, faculty, industry leaders and policy experts adept at removing barriers apply technology to craft practical yet transformative solutions ripe for implementation.

Urban Forest Ecosystems Institute

The Urban Forest Ecosystems Institute (UFEI) was developed by the Natural Resources Management Department to address the increasing need for improved management of the urban forests in California.  The purpose of the institute at Cal Poly is to provide a center for Applied Research, Extension and Technology Transfer, and Community Service and Outreach Programs assisting landowners and public agencies in improving the management of urban forests.  The scope of UFEI ranges across the full spectrum of forest settings -- from the inner-city forests to remote semi-developed forests.  The institute is designed to work in co-operation with other universities, government agencies and private consulting firms.  Project work is accomplished through an interdisciplinary approach with the NRM Department representing the core group of disciplines at Cal Poly.

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