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California Tech Receives $750 Million Gift for Environmental Sustainability

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Businessman Stewart Resnick has made the second-largest gift in the history of U.S. higher education institutions for environmental sustainability research.

On Monday, California Institute of Technology announced receiving a $750 million pledge from the billionaire businessman and his wife Lynda Resnick, who are the owners of The Wonderful Company, to find new solutions to energy and sustainability challenges.

The gift, which is the largest ever for environmental sustainability research, will bring together experts from physical sciences, life sciences, and engineering who will work at shared facilities and pursue research in solar science, climate science, energy, biofuels, decomposable plastics, water, and environmental resources, and ecology and biosphere engineering.

“In order to comprehensively manage the climate crisis, we need breakthrough innovations, the kind that will only be possible through significant investment in university research,” Resnick said.

“Science and bold creativity must unite to address the most pressing challenges facing energy, water, and sustainability.”

The gift will primarily support four core research initiatives which include converting the solar energy into fuels and other chemicals; identify the largest effects of climate change; effectively managing water resources; global ecology and biosphere engineering.

It will establish a new Resnick Sustainability Resource Center, which will serve as the home of state-of-the-art undergraduate teaching laboratories along with a hub for energy and sustainability research.

“The Resnick Sustainability Institute will now be able to mount efforts at scale, letting researchers across campus follow their imaginations and translate fundamental discovery into technologies that dramatically advance solutions to society’s most pressing problems,” President Thomas F. Rosenbaum said.

A permanent endowment will also be established to fund the work of researchers across the university’s academic divisions and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

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