2008 News Archive

An archive of news released by the Institute on the Environment during calendar year 2008.

Tilman receives international award for biodiversity and biofuels research

(10/7) David Tilman, Regents Professor of Ecology and Institute on the Environment resident fellow, has been named the 2008 recipient of the International Prize for Biology. The award, which is one of the most prestigious honors a scientist can receive, is given to one individual in a different field of biology each year. Tilman was selected for research proving that biodiversity makes ecosystems more productive and resistant to drought, disease and pests. More recently, he has applied his discoveries to renewable energy, showing that biofuel created from diverse prairie grasses is more efficient and better for the environment than fuel made from food crops. 

EPA appoints Swackhamer as chair of Science Advisory Board

(9/17) Deborah Swackhamer, an internationally recognized expert on toxic chemicals in freshwater lakes and rivers from the University of Minnesota, has been appointed as chair of the EPA Science Advisory Board, Stephen Johnson, administrator, Environmental Protection Agency, announced today. Swackhamer is an associate fellow and former interim director of the Institute on the Environment. 

IonE to launch Momentum magazine

(8/8) In September 2008, the Institute on the Environment is launching Momentum magazine. Published three times a year, the magazine will use University of Minnesota expertise to address today’s most pressing environmental issues. The inaugural issue will include writing from leading environmental journalists, as well as an in-depth interview with best-selling author Thomas Friedman. U of M researchers from a range of disciplines will discuss and debate the challenges of climate change, local food, biodiversity and other hot topics.

Jonathan Foley named director of the IonE

(7/22) Following an extensive international search, University of Minnesota Provost Thomas Sullivan today named professor Jonathan Foley as the permanent director of the U of M’s new system-wide Institute on the Environment. Foley will begin his duties as director on Aug. 25. “This institute is a bold, exciting and unique undertaking, one requiring exceptional intellectual imagination, entrepreneurial energy and dynamic leadership. Professor Jon Foley brings all these talents, and many more, as our first permanent director of the Institute on the Environment,” says Sullivan. 

Conservation and preservation plan offers vision for Minnesota’s environment and natural resources

(7/7) A new report, released today by the IonE and the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources, offers comprehensive assessments and recommendations pertaining to the future of Minnesota. The Statewide Conservation and Preservation Plan charts long-term strategies for addressing critical issues and trends impacting Minnesota’s environment and natural resources. 

Renewable energy scholarship winners

(6/6) The University of Minnesota’s Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment, in partnership with the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, has selected nine projects as part of the U of M’s first renewable energy scholarship program. The scholarship winners will receive a stipend of up to $1,700 each. The students must assist with a faculty member’s research or carry out their own projects under faculty supervision. 

IonE awards more than $20,000 to student groups

(3/27) The Institute on the Environment has awarded more than $20,000 in grants to student organizations across the University of Minnesota. The grants will support projects or activities in spring 2008 that promote sustainability and the environment. The primary criteria for funding included project feasibility, innovation, reach, the quality of the project, and the potential impact in the community and/or on campus. 

Tilman and Polasky publish critical biofuels study

(2/8) Institute on the Environment fellows David Tilman, Stephen Polasky and Jason Hill, along with Joe Fargione of the Nature Conservancy and University of Minnesota researcher Pete Hawthorne, recently published a biofuels study in Science that made news headlines around the world. The study urges that all stages of biofuels production, distribution and use be evaluated for their environmental impacts.