Our Approach

SRE is developing a comprehensive systems approach to sustainability and resilience assessment from the industrial process scale to the planetary scale. We combine advanced tools such as life cycle assessment, coupled human-natural systems modeling, ecosystem services valuation, and data analytics to evaluate the costs, benefits, risks and possible hidden consequences of changes in technology, policy and environmental conditions.

Building Intellectual Capital

The Sustainable and Resilient Economy (SRE) program is one of eight transformative initiatives funded by Ohio State’s Discovery Themes to address grand challenges that face our society. Our mission is to develop new knowledge and transformative solutions that increase the value of material and energy flows and reduce unintended adverse impacts on society, enabling a realistic transition to a sustainable world. SRE integrates across the natural and social sciences, engineering, medicine and public health to generate new insights and developed practical, scalable solutions. 

In particular, understanding human behavior is critical for identifying unintended consequences that may offset technological or business innovations. For example, introducing a more efficient technology (e.g., LED lighting) may cause a “rebound effect” that actually increases energy demand, due to lower prices and emergence of new applications. 

In conjunction with its innovative research, SRE engages in partnerships with industrial enterprises and other key stakeholders who will adopt our cutting-edge models and methods, test the sustainability and resilience of new technologies and practices, and facilitate commercialization and adoption of promising innovations.

Faculty Hiring

SRE is teaming with many departments across six major colleges to recruit talented new faculty that share our values aspirations. Our first group of new hires arrived in 2016.

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Seed Funding

SRE has established a Seed Grant program open to all Ohio State faculty. Our intent is to stimulate collaborative development of promising research directions that align with our mission.

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SRE is engaged in relationships with many external organizations that share our goals. These include local, state, and Federal government agencies, as well as global companies in a broad range of industry sectors.


The sustainability of natural and social capital is a critical strategic imperative for economic prosperity and quality of life. But in a tightly-coupled and turbulent global economy, companies and governments are challenged to maintain continuity, let alone to pursue transformative changes. While sustainability focuses on gradual improvement of human well-being, resilience focuses on preparing for unexpected shocks that may destabilize our cities, supply chains, or natural resources. Addressing these twin challenges requires a broad interdisciplinary approach

Collaborators at Ohio State

The Sustainable and Resilient Economy program builds upon the vast intellectual capital throughout the many centers of excellence at Ohio State, including: