President Kornbluth Announces $75 Million Funded Climate Project

Kornbluth: “A compelling new strategy for accelerated, university-led innovation”

In an email to the MIT community, President Sally Kornbluth announced the Climate Project at MIT, a $75 million effort to power initiatives in decarbonization, climate renewal, and community and policy advancement. She said that the Climate Project is a “compelling new strategy for accelerated, university-led innovation.”

The Climate Project’s foundations lie in Fast Forward: MIT’s Climate Action Plan for the Decade, which was announced in 2021 by the former MIT President L. Rafael Reif’s administration. Kornbluth stated that Vice Provost Richard Lester proposed the new approach to meet the public’s demand for a “different order of speed, ambition, focus, and scale” after consulting with more than 150 experts. 

Kornbluth stated that the Climate Project will be composed of three components: The Climate Missions, The Climate Frontier Projects, and The Climate HQ. It will be focused on achieving six Climate Missions, including decarbonizing energy and industry and proposing new environmental policy strategies. Kornbluth stated that MIT is currently seeking a faculty leader for each mission on “an accelerated timeline.” More information on the roles of leaders for each mission can be found here.

Additionally, Kornbluth announced the creation of a Vice President for Climate (VPC) that will direct the Climate Project and help realize its missions. According to Kornbouth, the VPC will “take the lead on fundraising and implementation, and shape [the Climate Project’s] strategic vision.” Kornbluth also said that she appointed several faculty members, including the Vice Provost Lester, to serve on the Climate Search Advisory Committee which will advise Kornbluth on how to select leaders for the six Climate Missions. 

Furthermore, Kornbluth said that the Climate Project will be launched with $50 million from the Institute, the “largest direct investment the Institute has ever made in funding climate work.” She added that the Sloan School of Management will give $25 million to “endow a new climate policy center” that will supplement the Institute's investment to jumpstart the new climate plan. Kornbluth stated that the funds will “allow for early advances and express the seriousness of our intentions to potential partners around the world.”

Given the Climate Project’s nascency, Kornbluth said that it will benefit from and “continue to be shaped by the insight and expertise” of individuals who demonstrate expertise and leadership in different fields including academia, government, and industry. 

Kornbluth called the Climate Project “ambitious, multifaceted, and complex” and encouraged the MIT community to get involved, stating that “with your creativity, support and drive, we have every reason to hope that the Climate Project at MIT can make that aspiration real.” A detailed summary of the Climate Project at MIT can be found here