Nation & World

Italian government provides $1.5M for Sustainability Science Program at CID

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The Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land, and Sea has made a $1.5 million gift to support the Fund for Sustainable Development at Harvard’s Center for International Development (CID), it was announced earlier this month. A document-signing ceremony was held May 9 at the Kennedy School of Government (KSG).

The Fund for Sustainable Development supports the Sustainability Science Program at CID and is based at KSG. The Italian Ministry provided the original $2.5 million gift launching the program in March 2006. The goal of the program is to foster shared prosperity and reduce poverty while protecting the environment.

The supplemental support will provide additional funding for faculty research grants, and will bolster and expand a fellowship program that recruits young scholars and practitioners from around the world to further their studies at Harvard.

“I commend the Italian Ministry and its director general Corrado Clini for this generous gift to Harvard University,” said David T. Ellwood, dean of the Kennedy School. “These fellowships will help foster the careers of young people while advancing practical knowledge in the challenging and critical field of sustainability science.”

The research funding provided by the gift will seed new research that explores sectoral applications of sustainability science and will allow for ongoing collaboration with institutions in the developing world.

“Research on biofuels and trade, the efficacy of water and sanitation interventions in developing countries, and integrated regional development are among the projects supported by this fund,” said William Clark, the Harvey Brooks Professor of International Science, Public Policy, and Human Development, and director of the Sustainability Science Program. “This research is vital at a time when we are seeking scientifically informed solutions to some of the greatest challenges facing humanity.”

The program has launched a Sustainability Science Fellows initiative. Each year the program will use the fund to allow senior individuals, with preference to individuals from the developing world and Italy, to spend time as visiting fellows at the Center for International Development. In addition, the fund supports an international competition to bring younger professionals, including senior doctoral and postdoctoral students, to CID to help strengthen the international network capacity in the field of sustainable development. The supplement also includes funding for master’s degree student fellowships at KSG for Italians who have practical experience working on international environment and development policy issues.

“We are pleased to enhance and expand our collaboration with the Kennedy School and the Center for International Development,” said the director general of the Italian Ministry, Corrado Clini. “This initiative will allow us to continue to work together to meet the challenges of sustainable development through education and the increasing involvement of young, skilled professionals worldwide.”

Sustainability science is an emerging field of problem-driven research and innovation. The discipline focuses on interactions between social and environmental systems and specific sustainability challenges related to agriculture, biodiversity, cities, energy and materials, and health and water.