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Sustainability Accelerator

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The new Sustainability Accelerator will develop and launch scalable solutions for global impact. It is a significant departure from traditional academia. Thinking about scale from the beginning and working backward, it will identify those gaps in knowledge as well as risks and barriers along plausible pathways for scaling, which if adequately addressed will create solutions that can achieve speed and scale for global impact. 

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.

Flagship Destinations

  • 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.

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.

See the funded projects

Join the Team 

Are you passionate about making a difference by helping drive impactful sustainability solutions? We are currently seeking talented individuals to join our growing team.

Our team

Yi Cui
Faculty Director

Yolanda Banks

Yolanda Banks
Finance and Operations Team

Andrea Gray

Andrea Gray
Finance and Operations Team

Isik Kizilyalli
Technology Team

Michael Mastrandrea

Michael Mastrandrea
Policy Team

Jennifer Milne
Technology Team

Kristin O'Brien

Kristin O'Brien
Finance and Operations Team

Shalmalee Pandit
Technology Team

Nitin Parekh

Nitin Parekh
Technology Team

Huijun Ring
Market Engagement Team

Michael Wara

Michael Wara
Policy Team

Dave Weinstein
Education and Mobilization Team

Michael Wara
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. 

Learn about the risks and barriers to scaling solutions

For more information or to participate:
Contact the Sustainability Accelerator