The development of a sustainable energy system is a critical global problem that impacts the environment, politics, economics, and security. Solar hydrogen (hydrogen generated from sustainable solar-derived power such as photovoltaics or biomass) offers a potential solution to this problem. However, an environmentally and economically sustainable solar hydrogen system requires integration of policy, economics, systems, and components, as well as multidisciplinary approaches to the conversion and storage devices themselves. The Integrative Graduate Education and Research Training (IGERT) award to the University of Delaware is enabling development of a new graduate program in Sustainable Energy from Solar Hydrogen that will integrate relevant concepts from science, engineering, economics, and social sciences.

The program is aimed at providing students with the multidisciplinary background both to make the scientific and technical breakthroughs that will drive advances in energy conversion and storage and to provide the leadership that will ensure appropriate use of the technology. The IGERT program uses pedagogical tools that have been shown to increase learning effectiveness, emphasizes the societal responsibility of scientists and engineers through outreach programs and mentoring, and provides students with the skills needed to become leaders by focusing on problem solving, communication, teamwork, and collaboration.

The program also develops a model for recruiting and retaining members of underrepresented groups by explicitly addressing factors that hinder graduation, such as accommodation of multiple backgrounds in the educational program, early integration with all members of the research program, mentoring, and training in the skills needed for both research and broader success. The graduate model has the potential for broad applicability because similar educational challenges exist in many complex problems today, where the science and technology lie at the intersection of traditionally unrelated disciplines and where application of the technology intersects with social, political, and economic factors.

Participating Colleges and Departments at the University of Delaware

Participating Centers and Institutes at University of Delaware

Partner Organizations


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Funding provided by the National Science Foundation