Shell Center celebrates 10 years with report highlighting accomplishments

Measuring the sustainability of Houston and analyzing environmental matters in the Gulf of Mexico are among the accomplishments highlighted in a new report that reflects on Rice University’s Shell Center for Sustainability’s (SCS) first 10 years of achievements.

“Since 2002, Shell Oil Company partnered with Rice University to create the Shell Center for Sustainability,” said John Anderson, academic director of the SCS, the W. Maurice Ewing Professor of Oceanography and professor of Earth science. “SCS collaborates with organizations within Rice and with partners outside of Rice as well. We support the Gulf Coastal Science Consortium to provide scientific consensus on issues affecting the Gulf of Mexico, and the Houston Sustainability Indicators project to measure sustainability.”

The center was made possible by a 2002 grant of $3.5 million from Shell. Since then, the SCS has grown to support 41 new research initiatives totaling $1.5 million with 159 researchers, in addition to supporting new course initiatives, providing support for 17 SCS fellows, funding six SCS internships and supporting the creation of new research opportunities for 28 students.

“Shell’s broad partnership with Rice University finds one of its most valuable expressions in the Shell Center for Sustainability,” said Marvin Odum, president of Shell Oil. “It’s important that we, in business, understand how to serve a global market characterized by growing populations, increased energy demand and stressed resources. The work of the SCS helps deepen that understanding and catalyzes real solutions among its multiple partners.”

Publications have included the Atlas of Sustainable Strategies for Galveston Island, based on a 2009 research project, and the Development of a Long-range Sustainability Plan for the Upper Texas Coast.

“Ultimately, our goal is to become the regional expert of Gulf Coast sustainable development by fostering academic research, outreach and education initiatives and interdisciplinary partnerships that extend outreach from the Florida Keys to the Yucatan Peninsula, with a strong focus in the Houston and Galveston region,” Anderson said.

For a copy of the report, visit

The Shell Center is an interdisciplinary program of research, outreach and education to address actions that can be taken to ensure the sustainable development of living standards, interpreted broadly, to encompass all factors affecting the quality of life including environmental resources. It supports the efforts of Rice University’s faculty, staff and students to better the planet’s economy, society and environment.

For more information, visit

About Amy McCaig

Amy is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.