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USC to focus on sustainability research

The University of South Carolina will make sustainability research one of its top target areas as part of a new initiative to identify, unite and promote research across the university.

Sustainability is the first in a series of research initiatives that USC will identify, said Stephen Kresovich, vice president of research and graduate education at USC. The rapidly expanding field encompasses many areas, including biology, public health, business and economics, architecture, civil and environmental engineering, earth and ocean science, physical and human geography and law.

“In practical terms, the field recognizes that in a world of limited capital and resources, creative solutions to pressing environmental issues are key, but so are economic and societal realities,” Kresovich said. ”Sustainability science is a forward-thinking approach that seeks real-world solutions to real-world problems by bringing together participants who otherwise would seldom communicate with each other.”

Dr. Brian Helmuth, a professor of biological sciences, will be the special adviser for the sustainability research initiative at USC and work with faculty across campus to advance sustainability research.

“We have real-world problems that have to be solved: we need to create jobs, we need clean sources of power and we need to feed our nation,” Helmuth said. “However, that doesn't mean we have to address these issues at the expense of our children and grandchildren by depleting our resources or destroying our environment. Sustainability research searches for new ways of thinking that are both economically sound and environmentally sensible that will allow us to address the demands of the present without sacrificing the needs of the future.”

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