Energy and Environment

With a smart grid cluster of 40 companies, the presence of NC State startup Cree, Inc., a first-of-its-kind research center that is poised to create the “internet for energy,” and numerous other assets related to energy and the environment, NC State is uniquely positioned to transform our nation’s energy economy. The City of Raleigh’s leadership in this arena also has created partnerships with the University and the private sector that are benefiting the community.

Read more about the unique research centers and opportunities that are helping to make NC State and the Research Triangle region a leader in energy and environment — and the #2 smart grid cluster in the country.

North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies

A consortium of academic, non-profit and community organizations, the CICS focuses on climate and satellite research and applications, climate and satellite observations and monitoring, and climate research and modeling. Its goal is to enhance understanding of the state and evolution of the full earth system.

State Climate Office of North Carolina

The State Climate Office of North Carolina, located at NC State University, is the primary source for NC weather and climate information. It is involved in all aspects of climate research, education, and extension services.

North Carolina Solar Center

The Solar Center advances the use of renewable energy, energy efficiency, green building, and clean transportation to ensure a sustainable economy that protects the environment, encourages energy independence, and lowers energy costs for consumers. It focuses on education, policy, and research, and also provides technical expertise.

Institute for Transportation Research & Education

From analyzing the efficiency of public school bus routing to recommending bicycle and pedestrian safety strategies, ITRE explores and advances transportation systems through a focus on surface, water and air transportation research and education, and provides technical assistance to public transportation systems.


The smart solid state transformers being developed at the NSF FREEDM Systems Center have been named to MIT Technology Review’s 2011 list of the world’s 10 most important emerging technologies. Aside from its work on the smart grid, FREEDM is committed to educating graduates who can advance innovation in renewable electric energy delivery and management systems and developing partnerships with industry toward that goal.

Animal & Poultry Waste Management Center

Animal manure, litter, mortalities, hatchery and processing plant offal, waste water. While animal agriculture is growing, the industry also faces considerable challenges managing the undesirable by-products that animals generate. This center was created to study environmentally sound, socially acceptable and economically feasible ways to deal with animal waste.

Center for Applied Aquatic Ecology

Policy makers can’t make decisions on water quality and its relationship to fish and human health without objective information. The Center for Applied Aquatic Ecology does just that, with an emphasis on applied research, training and support for undergraduates students, graduate students, and post docs, and database development that contributes to environmental education. It also is continuing research on toxic algae.

Center for Environmental & Resource Economic Policy

The Center for Environmental and Resource Economics Policy provides leadership in economic research and outreach programs to foster forward-thinking environmental policy for North Carolina and the nation.  CEnREP fosters multidisciplinary, policy-driven research to solve today’s most pressing environmental and natural resource problems.

Center for Plant Breeding & Applied Plant Genomics

With more plant breeders than any university in the US, the Center for Plant Breeding & Applied Plant Genomics focuses on a full range of research programs, courses and crops. Plant breeders at N.C. State are based in different colleges and departments, ranging from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to the department of Forestry and Horticultural Science. More than 65 faculty members provide skills in DNA-based marker technology, plant transformation, genomics, proteomics and metabolomics in addition to basic field breeding.

NC State Phytotron

Formally called the Southeastern Plant Environment Laboratory, the NC State Phytotron is a leading center for controlled environment research in the United States, and one of the largest such facilities in the world. With 60 artificially lighted growth chambers of various sizes, nine photoperiod rooms, and five temperature-controlled greenhouses, the phytotron lends itself to an enormous number of experiments – usually between 50 and 70 customized projects each year.

SE Climate Science Center

The SE CSC brings together the expertise of federal and university students to address climate change priority needs of federal, state, non-governmental and tribal resource managers. Researchers and students associated with the SE CSC share the common goal of understanding how global change affects the living systems on Earth, a place where evolutionary biologists, ecologists, geneticists, genomicists, climate scientists, anthropologists, historians and even artists come together with the common hope that by using our many lenses together we will see more than any of us would on our own.

Nuclear Reactor Program

The PULSTAR reactor facility is dedicated to research, teaching and extension with the goal of creating a premier 1-MW Nuclear Reactor Program. The PULSTAR reactor is available for use by research faculty and staff within the University of North Carolina system, and by governmental agencies and industries in the State of North Carolina and the United States.

Center for Earth Observation

The Center for Earth Observation offers state-of-the-art capability for special purpose computing and geoinformatics research and training to any interested faculty, staff, or student on the NCSU campus, as well as neighboring institutions in the Research Triangle area including the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University, Research Triangle Institute, and the North Carolina Supercomputing Center.