Our Accomplishments

In the few years of our existence, IonE already has made clear contributions toward resolving grand environmental challenges.

  • Through our Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment, researchers have created new knowledge that has fundamentally altered how policy makers perceive the sustainability of biofuels.
  • The Natural Capital Project, a partnership with Stanford, The Nature Conservancy and World Wildlife Fund, has influenced global thinking about the economics of natural systems and the appropriate role of nature’s services in cost-benefit calculations.
  • IonE thought leaders have helped introduce a new concept – “planetary boundaries” – that is changing the way global systems are managed.
  • Our Global Landscapes Initiative has identified clear pathways to producing more food while reducing adverse environmental impacts.

By the numbers, we have:

  • brought together experts in more than 20 disciplines – including ecology, urban planning, entomology, law, music, civil engineering, plant biology, computer science, epidemiology and public affairs – to solve environmental challenges
  • funded more than 50 exploratory research projects
  • sparked game-changing projects enhancing sustainable development, building resilience in the face of ecosystem change, preserving freshwater resources and more through Discovery Grants
  • collaborated with more than 100 private and nonprofit sector entities, including General Mills, Procter and Gamble, Medtronic, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the UN Foundation
  • leveraged more than $69 million in external support for environmental research at the University of Minnesota
  • supported graduate students and fellows with exceptional promise and provided a series of widely attended and well-received workshops in communication, collaborative leadership and systems thinking to help students, faculty and others move beyond academia to real-world impact
  • mentored close to 1,000 students through our Acara, sustainability studies minor, leadership development, assistantship and fellowship programs
  • reached tens of thousands of people around the world, inspiring, educating and empowering them to envision and create positive change, through IonE communications and events.