The Sustainability Accelerator serves as a launch pad to leverage knowledge and expertise at Stanford and co-develop potentially scalable sustainability technology and policy solutions with external partners worldwide, with the goal to substantially and measurably improve the quality of human life and our planet. The Sustainability Accelerator is a critical part of how the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability will impact the world at speed and scale.
What we focus on
We focus our efforts around Flagship Destinations – ambitious and aspirational targets that have the potential for impact on a global scale. This integrated approach will support development of needed technological, governance, financial, and other societal innovations, including addressing equity and justice issues. Investments and scaling support by the Accelerator focus on these Flagship Destinations.
Over time, we anticipate several Flagship Destinations running concurrently, each focusing on areas such as adaptation against effects of climate change, access to freshwater, or the energy transition, with specific topic areas and goals generated by our scholars.
- Have a significant and measurable impact with the potential to scale from local- to global-level outcomes in a timeframe that reflects the urgency of the sustainability challenge.
- Have potential for Stanford to make a meaningful contribution.
- Identify and address equity challenges and unintended consequences at scale.
Our first flagship destination
Greenhouse gas removal at the gigaton scale (>1 GtCO2e/year).
Even with a global effort to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we must also remove those gases from the atmosphere to reach the goal of limiting global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels, as outlined in the Paris Agreement. Reaching this goal will require experts in policy, technology, nature-based solutions, and other areas working together globally.
Request for Proposals for Greenhouse Gas Removal Solutions from Stanford Faculty
This is a call for proposals for greenhouse gas removal solutions and strategies with potential for impact at scale. We are looking for projects that begin with solutions at scale and work backwards to identify the required activities which might include but are not limited to research, external collaborations, and executional plans to launch the solution outside of Stanford. The Sustainability Accelerator seeks project ideas with transformative rather than incremental potential. Proposals may be submitted by any Stanford University or SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory faculty, academic staff, or scientific staff with PI-eligibility per Stanford and SLAC policies. A letter of intent to submit is due on October 6, 2023 and full proposals are due on November 6, 2023.
How we succeed
We invest in and support teams with ideas that have the potential to scale, educate learners at Stanford and worldwide, provide policy analysis to decision makers in support of sustainability solutions, and create a network of scholars, innovators, investors, and policymakers who will work together and with our teams to identify opportunities, envision new ideas, and execute solutions at speed and scale.
Broad themed scalable projects
In an initial open round of funding held in the summer of 2022, the Accelerator invested in 31 teams focused on a broad range of sustainability themes. Going forward, there will be additional sources of funding within the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability for scalable projects that fall outside the Flagship Destination framework.
Interim Director for Policy Engagement, Sustainability Accelerator
"The sustainability challenge is not going to be solved just by technology – technology is critical, but we also need policy change. We need to work with policymakers, to co-create questions and produce answers on a time frame that’s generally faster than the academic research time frame."
Starting with scale
Not all solutions that work at the academic level will scale up to have substantive, positive impact on a large fraction of humanity and our planet due to a variety of downstream risks and barriers, often unforeseen. With its Flagship Destinations, the Sustainability Accelerator drives solutions that can scale by considering the risks and barriers from the beginning.