Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

The Precourt Institute for Energy is part of the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability.

About Stanford's Precourt Institute for Energy

Main content start

To help realize the vision of sustainable, affordable, secure energy for all, Stanford University’s Precourt Institute for Energy develops the creativity, collaboration, learning, and leadership needed for the global energy transformation. As part of the new Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability, the Precourt Institute plays a key role in connecting the new school with Stanford’s other six schools for interdisciplinary research and education.

The Precourt Institute and its 14 constituent initiatives, centers, and programs fund research across campus with the potential to solve the toughest energy challenges. The institute sponsors several student courses and an interdisciplinary postdoctoral program, and it supports Stanford students interested in energy. Precourt Institute programs help translate Stanford research for deployment in the world and engage energy sector stakeholders. Under the Stanford ENERGY brand, the institute also promotes the contributions of the broad Stanford energy ecosystem through multiple channels, including this website.

Precourt Institute initiatives and centers:

Other Precourt Institute programs:

Research

Seed grant programs at the Precourt Institute, StorageX Initiative and the Bits & Watts Initiative fund early-stage research with the potential for high impact on energy supply and use. These proof-of-concept awards, which encourage interdisciplinary research, bridge theory to early experiments and analysis. Promising results often proceed to large-scale studies. The Precourt Institute launched a new grant award in 2021 called the Precourt Pioneering Projects. These grant awards are aimed at tackling problems in energy domains that remain underdeveloped relative to other areas at Stanford.

Members of the Strategic Energy Alliance sponsor individual research projects with faculty members and pool some funds for research chosen through the Strategic Energy Research Consortium's open calls for proposals.

Education & Outreach

Started in 2022, the institute's Stanford Energy Postdoctoral Fellowship aims to identify, develop, and connect the next generation of energy leaders from science and engineering to policy and economics to address the challenges of the global energy transformation through interdisciplinary approaches. Up to 10 fellows are selected each year to work on research with two faculty mentors in different departments for up to three years.

Explore Energy is the umbrella student engagement and energy education program at the Precourt Institute. The Explore Energy staff enhance and amplify the Stanford student experience around energy across all schools at Stanford.

The Precourt Institute hosts many educational efforts centrally and within its initiatives and centers. Notably, the institute’s weekly Energy Seminar course informs the Stanford community on energy and environmental issues and perspectives. The seminar is offered as a for-credit course for Stanford students during fall, winter and spring terms, and is free and open to the public. Energy@Stanford & SLAC is a one-week conference for new Stanford graduate students interested in energy. Stanford Climate Ventures course provides a launchpad for teams to create and develop transformational climate ventures and innovation models. The TomKat Center's many educational programs include its Innovation Transfer Program, graduate student fellowships, and summer internships at energy startups.

In 2023, the institute launched a public, free website for public information and education. The Understand Energy Learning Hub uses materials from the institute-sponsored Understand Energy Stanford course. The institute also supports the student-led Stanford Energy Club, which networks more than 600 students, scholars and local professionals interested in energy issues.

Hoover tower with trees with flowers in front

Sustainability Principles

The Stanford community aspires to the goal of human wellbeing across generations and around the world, and is committed to including social, ethical, economic, ecological, environmental and resource considerations in decision making.  We hope every student at Stanford shares this goal and learns how to engage effectively in reaching it.

–John Etchemendy, former provost, January 2017