Tufts and Stockholm Environment Institute celebrate 10-year anniversary

Tufts Institute of the Environment (TIE) and the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) will host a symposium on April 11 celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the partnership between Tufts and SEI.

Named the Tufts-SEI Nexus Symposium, the public event will bring together Tufts and SEI researchers as panelists to share their perspectives and research on the global issues of water, energy, food, health and climate, according to Jill Parlee, assistant director for programs at TIE.

Annette Huber-Lee, a senior scientist at the SEI U.S. Center, explained in an email to the Daily that in 2005, SEI decided to associate each of its international centers with a local academic institution, choosing Tufts for the SEI U.S. Center.

“We considered a range of local universities [for the SEI U.S. Center], but for us, the choice was clear, given Tufts University’s vision of openness and engagement ‘to be an innovative university of creative scholars across a broad range of schools who have a profound impact on one another and the world,’” Huber-Lee wrote.

Huber-Lee said that over the course of the 10-year relationship, Tufts and SEI have partnered on a number of projects within TIE’s Water: Systems, Science & Society graduate program, the Global Development and Environment Institute and The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy’s Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship program.

SEI-U.S. Center Senior Scientist Eric Kemp-Benedict explained some of the areas in which SEI has been working and how Tufts has played a part with their efforts.

“In those 10 years, the center, with its offices in Somerville, Seattle, Wash. and Davis, Calif., has established an international reputation in the areas of water and energy resource planning, climate mitigation and climate equity,” Kemp-Benedict told the Daily in an email. “Tufts students and faculty have joined us in much of this, particularly in the area of water resources planning.”

Parlee further explained the value of the collaboration between Tufts and the SEI’s U.S. Center, which formed due to the similar research endeavors of the two institutes.

“Having an interdisciplinary focus doesn’t usually come from one person. You really need to get multiple perspectives to be able to address issues,” Parlee said. “[At] Tufts, we foster collaboration amongst schools and faculty. We encourage it to spread beyond Tufts with other partners, and SEI has an exceptional reputation for excellent research.”

Parlee added that researchers at the two schools regularly work together and collaborate on different research opportunities.

An internship opportunity between the two institutions has also been formed to further celebrate the anniversary, according to Parlee. She said that in the past, Tufts students would take on SEI internships, but the two organizations have decided to formalize that relationship by establishing the joint internship program.

“In this case, the person who will be working for SEI will also be participating in the fellowship activities that we do generally for students here at Tufts through our program,” she said. “So they’re going to get a dual benefit from participation in that internship.”

According to the SEI website, the beginning of the partnership was celebrated by a 2007 Climate Symposium, with additional symposiums being held over the last ten years that discussed climate, sustainability and energy.

“These convening moments represent not only the two organizations’ focus on research but also their enduring commitment to collaboration and inter-disciplinary conversation,” according to a joint statement from TIE and SEI. “These events have allowed for ideas, research and experiences to be shared by peers across organizations and disciplines and represent the primary goal of Tufts and SEI-U.S.’s association.”