Stanford University's Precourt Institute for Energy concentrates the talents of the university on energy research and education, from basic science and technology to policy and business. We disseminate research results and help the university develop energy-literate leaders as part of its educational mission. We also build collaborations globally with industry, other research institutions, government and civic organizations in pursuit of sustainable, affordable, secure energy for all people.
More than 200 Stanford faculty members and staff scientists work on energy-related challenges. The Precourt Institute is the focal point at Stanford for scholars, business leaders, policymakers and others seeking solutions to the world’s most difficult energy challenges.
Seed grant programs at the Precourt Institute, the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy and the Bits & Watts Initiative fund early-stage research with 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. Positive 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 urgent and important problems in energy and those that remain undeveloped relative to other areas at Stanford. These awards are to support faculty to build a strong collaborative team of 3-4 faculty members and enable them to explore outside funding opportunities based on this research.
The following centers, programs and projects are significant strands in the fabric of interdisciplinary energy research at Stanford.
- Bits & Watts Initiative
- Center for Carbon Storage
- Energy Modeling Forum
- Natural Gas Initiative
- Program on Energy & Sustainable Development
- Shultz-Stephenson Task Force on Energy Policy
- Stanford Institute for Materials & Energy Sciences
- Stanford Energy Corporate Affiliates
- Stanford Energy Global Council
- Stanford Environmental & Energy Policy Analysis Center
- Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy & Finance
- StorageX Initiative
- Strategic Energy Alliance
- SUNCAT Center for Interface Science & Catalysis
- Sustainable Finance Initiative
- TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy
Education & Outreach
The Precourt Institute works with Stanford schools and departments to identify promising energy scholars and areas of scholarship to recruit talented new faculty. We disseminate the results of Stanford energy research. The institute’s weekly Energy Seminar informs the Stanford community on energy and environmental issues and perspectives. Speakers come from leading research institutions, energy companies, government and other organizations. 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.
The Precourt Institute creates avenues for interaction among Stanford scholars and people in business, government and other institutions engaged in solving energy problems. Toward that end, the Precourt Institute co-hosts conferences and workshops with other groups throughout the year. The Stanford Global Energy Forum, hosted by four former U.S. cabinet members, brings together more than 500 global energy leaders to examine the rapidly changing energy systems around the world. To facilitate interaction between Stanford researchers and the private sector, we started the Stanford Energy Corporate Affiliates program.
Energy @ Stanford & SLAC is a one-week conference for new Stanford graduate students interested in energy. Students experience the breadth and depth of research across Stanford, and network with faculty, staff and fellow students.
The institute also supports the student-led Stanford Energy Club, which networks more than 600 students, scholars and local professionals interested in energy issues.
Stanford University fully engages in sustainability challenges through research programs, projects and partnerships; campus buildings and student residences; energy, water, dining and transportation operations; and many courses, academic programs and learning activities. 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.
-Provost John Etchemendy, January 2017
Learn more about Stanford's Sustainability Principles.