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2017 Sustainability Progress Report


Much of U-M’s sustainability research focuses on addressing big questions and their application and impact on communities — helping to create and foster a safer and healthier environment for all.

  • $1.8 million grant for “smart” technologies
  • $11 million industry funding for Mcity

Ann Arbor stormwater management smart technology

Autonomous “smart” technologies for aging stormwater systems are being developed at the U-M to lessen the impacts of flooding—potentially saving lives and billions of dollars in property damage. Through a $1.8 million grant from the National Science Foundation, Branko Kerkez, an assistant professor in the U-M Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is leading a national team of researchers from three other institutions to investigate how “smart” stormwater systems — outfitted with autonomous sensors and valves — can reconfigure urban watersheds in real-time to reduce flooding and improve water quality.

The grant is one of three in the nation funded at this level and it’s among 38 projects just announced under NSF’s new, $19.5 million Smart & Connected Communities program.


Graham Institute’s emerging opportunities

Graham Institute’s emerging opportunities

The Graham Sustainability Institute awarded nearly $500,000 to support four sustainability-related and cross-disciplinary research projects that include U-M researchers, external partners, experts from other universities and colleges, tribal agencies and non-governmental organizations. The projects investigate sustainable diets in Kenya and Vietnam, climate adaptation strategies of indigenous tribes in the Great Lakes region, climate-related health disparities among marginalized communities, and climate adaptation strategies for vulnerable communities along the northern coast of Ecuador.


Mcity: leading the transformation to connected and automated mobility

Eleven companies are investing a total of $11 million in the second phase of industry funding for Mcity, the U-M-led public-private research and development initiative leading the transformation to connected and automated mobility. The industry’s continuing interest reflects Mcity’s success in building an ecosystem of companies committed to the center’s mission to accelerate the development and implementation of connected and automated vehicles to improve traffic safety, conserve energy and increase accessibility to transportation.