Stanford University has announced gifts totaling $100 million, including $50 million from energy executive and Stanford alumnus Jay Precourt and $40 million from trustee Thomas Steyer and his wife, Kat Taylor, to launch the Precourt Institute for Energy.
The money will be used to hire as many as eight new faculty members and fund fellowships for graduate and postdoctoral students, while adding to the more than $30 million Stanford spends annually on energy research. In addition, the gift from Steyer and Taylor will fund the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy within the new institute. Other founding donors of the institute include Energy Capital Partners senior partner Douglas Kimmelman, North American Power Group president Michael Ruffatto, and the Schmidt Family Foundation.
Drawing on scientific expertise from across the university and around the world, the Precourt Institute will engage faculty from Stanford's engineering, earth sciences, and humanities and sciences departments as well as the Program on Energy and Sustainable Development. The institute also will house the Global Climate and Energy Project and the Precourt Center for Energy Efficiency.
"Universities such as Stanford need to focus their full talent on the greatest challenges facing the world today," said Stanford president John Hennessy. "Energy is certainly one of those issues, posing a threat to our economy, to national security, and, through the use of fossil fuels, to our environment. Addressing the challenge of energy will require research on a wide range of issues, from energy efficiency to development and deployment of renewable sources, to reducing the effect of fossil fuels."