Our mission

Our mission is to equitably solve environmental challenges through actionable research with impacted communities and policymakers.

Our approach

The Luskin Center for Innovation uses a holistic approach to solve environmental challenges: 

Conduct rigorous research

We leverage our academic prowess to ensure that environmental policy innovations are evidence-based. From quantitative analyses to in-depth interviews with community members, our empirical research utilizes the expertise of the nation’s top public university.

Address environmental issues to improve people’s everyday life

We all benefit from resilient communities. But many communities, particularly low-income and communities of color, are underserved and overburdened. We address some of the most critical environmental and societal challenges of our time – from the climate crisis, to ensuring the human right to water, zero-emission transportation, and access to affordable, renewable energy for all.

Inform and scale effective solutions

Environmental innovation takes many forms. Our research identifies problems, informs solutions and uplifts best practices that should be scaled for transformative benefit. Specifically, we design innovative and equitable environmental policies, guide public investments, and elevate community-driven climate solutions.

Bring together key partners

Using the convening power of California’s leading research university, we develop partnerships across public agencies, activist organizations, academic institutions, and business sectors. We often focus on California, the world’s fifth-largest economy, to support a model of environmental leadership that is relevant nationally and globally.

Uplift the leaders of today and tomorrow

We cultivate emerging environmental champions by supporting students in research positions, fellowships, and mentorship opportunities. Each year, we involve more than fifty students in our impactful work.

Our values

We value collaborative problem solving. Clean technology and community-driven solutions to the climate crisis exist. But bolder policies are urgently necessary to rapidly scale solutions for the common good.

This is where we come in. We work with frontline communities, policymakers, and other stakeholders to ensure research (facts, analysis, learning from best practices) shapes and scales equitable, effective, and innovative solutions. We have no time to waste. What we collectively do this decade will affect the fate of the planet and all who live on it for current and future generations to come.

Results

Our work has influenced dozens of local, state, and national policies. Examples include:

  • Informed California’s landmark clean vehicle programs for households and local government plans for zero-emission transportation electrification
  • Designed the nation’s largest renewable energy feed-in tariff program
  • Advised cities on community choice energy options to achieve their 100% renewable energy goal
  • Guided the development of a low-income water rate assistance program in California as part of our work to advance the human right to water for all
  • Delivered recommendations for effective and equitable California Climate Investments — over $10 billion to combat climate change while creating local employment, air quality, and health benefits
  • Developed an evaluation and technical assistance plan for California’s Transformative Climate Communities Program and its uniquely innovative, comprehensive and community-driven investments
  • Produced guidebooks, downloaded by thousands of users, to support access to public space

In our first 10 years, LCI has earned three national awards from the American Planning Association (APA), five California-level APA awards, and recognition from President Obama’s Climate Data Initiative.

Civic collaborators

Civic collaborators include leaders from local, state, and national government agencies as well as non-profit organizations, business associations and communities, with a particular interest in California.

Examples of current and recent civic collaborators

Communities for a Better Environment Established 1978
EarthJustice

Examples of current and recent funding partners

California Energy Commission
Climateworks Foundation

Example of research unit collaborators

Renee and Meyer Luskin founded the Luskin Center for Innovation in 2008, and it became part of the Luskin School of Public Affairs in 2009.

“A sustainable, healthy environment is the greatest inheritance one can leave to children, and the most enduring gift to the community and nation.” 

– Meyer Luskin