Engineering the Environmental and Social Impact of Technology

As human populations continue to grow, it is increasingly challenging to provide humans with the basic necessities of life – e.g., food, clean water, and clean air – while providing technological societies with the energy and carbon supplies necessary to achieve their material standards of living.

This is a global issue, with strong local implications for Iowa – there will be increasing opportunities to build a strong, sustainable bioeconomy based upon our land base and upon recent advances in the sciences and engineering related to biorenewable resources and decision sciences.signature area sustainability

Issues of production and conversion efficiency are closely related to disciplines like agricultural, chemical, biological, and mechanical engineering. Issues related to food security and safety are being addressed by engineering faculty with expertise in decision sciences and food engineering.

A cluster hire initiative in sustainability could be built upon these strengths. When coupled to the university’s academic strengths in agricultural engineering, statistics and agricultural economics, as well as the other areas, this cluster initiative will provide a rich opportunity for interdisciplinary research and education. The Bioeconomy Institute and the Center for Sustainable Environment Technologies are addressing some of these issues at present.

Students interested in doing research in this area should contact faculty working in one of our related research centers and institutes (links to the right).