Dow Sustainability Program


The US Studies Centre established the Dow Sustainability Program in February 2010 with a commitment of US$2,000,000 over three years from The Dow Chemical Company Foundation in the United States.

The Dow Sustainability Program brings together academic and policy experts from Australia and the US to develop action-oriented solutions to a range of sustainability challenges concerning energy, water, food and biodiversity that are technologically innovative, commercially scalable and politically viable.

The program is led by The Honourable Robert Hill, Adjunct Professor in Sustainability at the US Studies Centre, former Minister for the Environment and former Ambassador to the United Nations.

The Dow Sustainability Program is advised by a group of international experts and leverages the considerable academic resources in the agricultural, environmental, life and physical sciences of the University of Sydney and other universities in Australia and the US.

The program focuses on four key projects: 

Alternative Transport Fuels Initiative

Dr Susan Pond AM, Adjunct Professor at the US Studies Centre was the first person to be appointed to the Dow Sustainability Program and is the leader of the Alternative Transport Fuels Initiative. The Initiative examines strategies that enable commercial production of energy dense liquid transport fuels with lower greenhouse gas emission intensity and to secure transport energy resilience by diversification of sources of supply.

The United States is at the leading edge of the advanced biofuels industry with experience addressing the challenges of wider-scale commercialisation, including price, supply chains, policy settings and investment attraction. The Alternative Transport Fuels Initiative works with US experts to accelerate progress in the Australian biofuels industry.

Australia — United States Climate, Energy and Water Nexus Project

The Australia — United States Climate, Energy and Water Nexus Project (AUSCEW) is a three-year collaboration between the US Studies Centre and the Australian National University, which aims to identify the links between climate, energy and water policies to avoid perverse impacts and favour mutually beneficial solutions across sectors.

Comparative Groundwater Law and Policy Program

The Comparative Groundwater Law and Policy Program is a joint initiative of the US Studies Centre with the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and the Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford University.

Soil Carbon Initiative

In association with the Institute of Sustainable Solutions and the Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources at the University of Sydney, the US Studies Centre is developing strategies to combat soil degradation which is reducing agricultural productivity around the world and increasing carbon emissions. The Soil Carbon Initiative led by Andrea Koch, is focused on how changes in agricultural practices and policy can lead to increased levels of carbon in soils. The Soil Carbon Summit hosted by the Centre in February 2011 determined that increasing and managing soil carbon will play a vital role in underpinning future food security, biodiversity and fresh water regulation as well as mitigating climate change. A follow up meeting was held in Washington DC in September 2011 to bring this issue to the attention of US scientists and policy makers.

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