The impact of our research

UB Environmental Engineering Professor Alan Rabideau's research is preventing pollutants from leaching into Cattaraugus Creek.

Researching and implementing solutions to global sustainability issues

Take the research of Alan Rabideau in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Dr. Rabideau and a team of researchers and industry professionals received the National Ground Water Association's 2011 Ground Water Remediation Award for an innovative nuclear waste cleanup project at the West Valley site 30 miles south of Buffalo.

The permeable treatment wall that the team created is expected to be sustainable and treat the site for at least 20 years.


Or Diana Aga, whose research is demonstrating the lasting environmental effects of human activity and waste disposal on the Great Lakes. Her research found elevated levels of industrial pollutants in carp found in eastern Lake Erie.


Or Vladmir Mitin, who with his colleagues is creating the next generation of solar technology.

Mitin, a professor in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, has developed a new, nanomaterials-based technology that has the potential to increase the efficiency of photovoltaic cells up to 45 percent.


Ken Shockley in the Department of Philosophy who teaches and researches on the ethical implications of climate change, sustainability, and environmental issues.

As this field of study grows, national conferences like the Buffalo Workshop on Ethics and Adaptation, held in Buffalo in March 2012 and organized by Professor Shockley, will occur with greater frequency, raising the profile of sustainability ethics and promoting scholarly work in the field.

Visit our Areas of Focus page to view more profiles on faculty working in sustainability.


Research that makes a difference

Stopping the flow of pollutants, measuring how they travel through the environment, and assessing the implication that these pollutants have on our society—these are just several of the ways that UB faculty are changing the way the world looks at sustainability every day.

Our scholarship has direct impacts on the way we travel, how we power our buildings, where we get our food from, how our information travels, and where, in this changing world, we can live.

Defining Sustainability Research

Sustainability research is any systemic research focused on the dynamic interplay between environment, economy, and society. Sustainable systems preserve and advance the healthy functioning of ecological, economic, and social systems now and in the future. Sustainability research is informed by the simultaneous consideration of environmental, economic, and social systems and the long-term viability of those systems. Questions of scale, both geographic and temporal are similarly central to this work.

Our Process

With the engagement of the Research, Teaching, and Public Service committee of the Environmental Stewardship Committee (ESC), a comprehensive inventory of our sustainability research was created.

A list of all faculty research was generated, and colleagues that were already conducting sustainability research were identified. An email was sent to these faculty asking to confirm that their course(s) was sustainability focused or related and whether they knew of other colleagues doing this work. 

Additionally, an email was sent to all faculty at the institution, asking them to complete a survey on whether they conduct sustainability related or focused research. 

Our final list was informed by our initial assessment, the specific responses we received from our targeted solicitation, and finally, from our broad request of all faculty. 

We look forward to refining this process in consultation with the Research, Teaching, and Public Service Committee.