200Earth-Western-HemisphereMany of the grand challenges of the 21st century are related to energy, the environment and sustainability. The International Center for Advanced Renewable Energy and Sustainability (I-CARES) at Washington University in St. Louis is focused on seeking solutions for such challenges. Launched in June 2007, I-CARES catalyzes university wide and external collaborative research and educational activities in these focal areas.

The umbrella of I-CARES includes six signature initiatives; a robust internal funding program; a growing cadre of interdisciplinary researchers; a named lecture series to engage the broader university community; and a growing curriculum support focus that has helped engage new instructors, develop new courses and provide experiential opportunities for students.

I-CARES operates under the direction of Himadri Pakrasi.

The primary objective of I-CARES is to encourage and coordinate collaborative research work that contributes to rapid progress in addressing some of the greatest challenges facing our planet.


  • Facilitate exploration of alternative energy solutions
  • Develop novel products, applications and sustainability practices
  • Support researchers, pilot studies and large-scale initiatives
  • Recruit, support and engage endowed professors


The international component of I-CARES is what distinguishes it from similar programs at other universities. I-CARES has partnerships with 28 leading universities around the globe as part of the McDonnell International Scholars Academy, providing opportunities for multilateral, collaborative studies on energy, environment and sustainability, regionally and globally. Signature initiatives include: Washington University Climate Change Initiative, Photosynthetic Antenna Research Center, McDonnell Academy Global Energy & Environment Partnership, Tyson Research Center, Consortium for Clean Coal Utilization and office of Sustainability. All incorporate international collaborations.


From the application of basic science to the business of greening America, university faculty, staff and students are deeply engaged in issues related to addressing the immense energy, environmental and sustainability challenges. Faculty from all departments and schools are invited to work in partnership with I-CARES to address these grand energy and environmental issues that threaten our planet. For example, multidisciplinary teams are seeking to better understand natural processes, developing knowledge that can be used to increase the effectiveness of solar energy production, and in the longer-term, to use plants and microorganisms as green production sources for chemicals and fuels.


I-CARES coordinates research efforts at the university and works with organizations in the Greater St. Louis region to explore alternative energy sources, and to develop novel products, applications and sustainability practices. As well, sponsorships are developed with energy and technology companies and other corporate supporters. Partners on recent activities include

  • City of St. Louis
  • Missouri Botanical Garden
  • Monsanto
  • Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
  • Sigma-Aldrich