Skip to content

GCEP: Pioneering partnership

GCEP management committee team members standing in line in front of a tree
GCEP's management committee team in 2013

Introduction to Stanford Energy Startup Showcase

Some problems, like climate and energy, are just too difficult for one institution to solve alone. Fifteen years ago, many experts at Stanford had come to recognize the urgent need for new technologies that could radically reduce carbon dioxide emissions and simultaneously satisfy the growing global demand for energy.

Recognizing the scale of the challenge, Stanford joined forces with leading energy companies in 2002 to create the Global Climate & Energy Project (GCEP), an industry partnership aimed at developing a new generation of low-emissions energy technologies.

“Our goal is to unleash the creativity of talented researchers here at Stanford and at other top universities and research institutions worldwide,” Professor Lynn Orr, GCEP’s first director, said then. “We will seek out the best researchers around the globe to work with us.”

Since 2002, GCEP has awarded $177 million to more than 200 investigators at Stanford and 46 other institutions worldwide to develop technologies often judged too risky for traditional funding sources – from all-carbon solar cells and aluminum batteries to negative emissions and wirelessly charged electric cars. The project has also supported 900 students and postdoctoral researchers, many of whom now have careers in the energy sector.

“We saw GCEP as a creativity engine, drawing inspiration from recent advances in material science, biology, physics, chemistry, geology and engineering science, combined with the know-how of our industrial partners,” added Sally Benson, GCEP director since 2009.

GCEP is sponsored by ExxonMobil, Schlumberger and Bank of America, with previous support from GE, Toyota and DuPont.