Completed Projects

Conceptual Innovation in Environmental Policy

This is a joint project led by James Meadowcroft of Carleton University and Daniel Fiorino of the Center for Environmental Policy at American University. It is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities of Canada.
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Partnership on Technology Innovation and the Environment: Water Technology Initiative

In this project, the Center for Environmental Policy provided management and analytical support for the Partnership on Technology Innovation and the Environment and its first initiative on water technology innovation, which began in January 2014 and concluded with a workshop in June 2014.
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Collaborative Environmental Governance Annotated Bibliography

This reference guide provides a quick summary of empirical and theoretical contributions to the field of collaborative environmental governance for each entry. This evolving project will be updated to reflect developments in the field. Please feel free to email Jenny Biddle with a suggestion of literary papers or books that are essential in advancing the study and practice of collaborative environmental governance.
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U.S. trade representative Ron Kirk speaks at the Technology Market Summit. Seated from left: EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, Agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack, and Commerce secretary John Bryson. (Photo: Jeff Watts)

EPA Technology Market Summit - May 14, 2012

On May 14, 2012, the Center for Environmental Policy at American University co-sponsored and hosted a major conference in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University, and the Environmental Defense Fund. The summit convened a range of experts and organizations with a role in financing and promoting innovations in environmental and energy technologies. Two hundred experts from the financial, venture capital, business, government, and research communities discussed ways to accelerate the pace of investment and innovation in environmental technology. The Departments of Commerce, Agriculture, and Energy, and a U.S. trade representative were also actively involved.

Morning sessions

After opening remarks by American University President Neil Kerwin, four members of President Obama's cabinet presented: EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson; Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack; Secretary of Commerce John Bryson; and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk. Each of the speakers offered ideas for linking environmental and economic goals through enlightened and progressive approaches to investment and economic development, stressed the critical role of their agencies, and committed to engage with each other and the private sector.

The luncheon keynote speaker for the Summit was Mark Fulton, the Managing Director and Global Head of Climate Change Investment Research for Deutsche Bank. The topic of his speech was "How Transparency, Longevity, and Certainty Can Drive Investment."

Afternoon sessions

The afternoon sessions consisted of breakout groups focusing on three areas of opportunity for environmental and energy innovation: biogas and bio-digesters, innovations in the automotive supply chain, and fence line air quality monitoring. These sessions included presentations by experts and active discussion of (1) ways of overcoming barriers to investment; (2) approaches for facilitating the process of bringing innovative technologies to scale and to market; and (3) steps that participants could take to bring these ideas to fruition over the next few years.

The afternoon plenary session included "market talks" by six leaders in the areas of environmental innovation and investment: Gwen Ruta, Vice President for Corporate Partnerships, Environmental Defense Fund; Mindy Lubber, President of CERES; Roger Platt, Senior Vice President, Green Building Council; Kathleen McGinty, Senior Vice President, Weston Solutions; and Mark Tercek, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Corning Environmental Technologies.

Center Director Daniel Fiorino was actively involved in planning the substance of the summit and organizing the sessions and the follow-up activities. Critical support for the summit was provided by Center staff, including Carrie Moore, Carley Wigod, Kim Richards, and Manjyot Bhan. Center Post-Doctoral Fellow Jennifer Biddle documented the results.

Event follow up

To follow up, Center Director Dan Fiorino joined a steering committee help institutionalize the process. Also participating in this effort are the key private sectors organizers of the summit-the Nichols Institute and Environmental Defense Fund and the Heinz Center for Science, Economics and the Environment. The EPA and the other involved federal agencies have retained a strong interest in the outcomes of these discussions.

Policy and Management Options for Chemicals Issues in the Semiconductor Industry - July 2011

In July 2011, the Center began a project to work with the semiconductor industry on options for managing and anticipating chemicals issues that affect the industry and its products. The industry is committed to safely and effectively managing the full range of chemicals that are critical to continued innovation in that sector. The challenge the industry faces is how best to manage the many sources of pressures-from both government regulation and supply chain sources-in ways that comply with these requirements, manage the chemicals safely and responsibly, and advance the pace of innovation in areas such as energy efficiency, health care, environmental monitoring, and renewal energy development.

This project was supported by funding from the Intel Corporation and the Semiconductor Industry Association. It consisted of three phases: (1) a process of data collection by the Center, focusing largely on the results of 23 interviews with experts working in or with the semiconductor industry; (2) a one-day policy dialogue held at the Semiconductor Industry Association, in Washington, D.C., on October 26, 2011; (3) and a final report on the results of the interviews and policy dialogue, with findings and recommendations for responding to the issues raised.

Evaluating policy

The purpose of the dialogue was to evaluate policy and management options that will allow the industry to better anticipate and manage growing regulatory and supply chain pressures and expectations on the use of critical chemicals. This presents challenges not only to the industry's use of existing chemicals but to longer-term industry innovation. The industry is seeking ways of meeting these expectations responsibly, using chemicals safely, and maintaining a capacity for innovation.

The perspective proposed in the background paper was to view these issues in the context of sources of uncertainty and how to manage them. Because this project was aimed at informing the industry and its affiliates, it chose not to involve a broader range of stakeholders in the discussion. In the longer-run, however, the Center advises and the industry agrees on the need to conduct a broader process of consultation and dialogue.


The resulting summary describes the overall conclusions from the dialogue and follow-up action. The first part of the summary presents three priority options for consideration in the near term. The second part presents conclusions on several other issues discussed in the dialogue.

The project began in July 2011 and concluded with a final report in December 2011. Center Director Daniel Fiorino directed the project with the assistance of PhD candidate Manjyot Bhan.