International university presidents
declare energy research crucial
May 7, 2007 - By Christopher Leonard
- The Associated Press
St. Louis Thirteen university presidents
from around the world declared Monday that studying
energy and the environment are the most important
fields for researchers.
The group urged government agencies
and corporations to pour more resources into finding
new sources of energy that don't harm the environment,
calling it the most pressing problem facing the
"Our students are very excited by
this area" of research, said Washington University
Chancellor Mark Wrighton. "In fact, some of them
are pushing ahead in some cases faster than we can
The declaration came after a three-day
conference at Washington University in St. Louis,
hosted by the McDonnell International Scholars Academy.
The university presidents made various commitments
to support the research, from hiring new faculty
to hosting symposiums on the subject.
Shenghong Wang, president of Fudan
University in Shanghai, said he plans to expand
the university's environment and energy department
into a school of its own.
"This is a concern that is urgent
indeed," Wang said. The new school will study alternative
energy sources like hydrogen fuel cells, while finding
ways the campus itself can cut back on energy use,
Wrighton said Washington University
plans to add a faculty position to coordinate environmental
and energy research. The school also announced Monday
it will give a $500,000 grant to fund another symposium
on the subject.
Wrighton said it will be critical
to discover new energy sources because world energy
demand is expected to double by the year 2050. He
said corporations have a major stake in the research
because it will yield profitable new technology.
"If you could come up with even a
small fraction of renewable energy resources, that
already is a huge business opportunity," he said.
On the Net: McDonnell International
Scholars Academy: http://mcdonnell.wustl.edu/