Signature Programs

Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation Signature Programs

The Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation was established in 2003 with the broad mission to catalyze sustainability research and education at Pitt. We achieve this mission through the development and integration of curriculum, groundbreaking research, community outreach and innovation. The Center engages students, faculty and staff as well as our community to explore and experience sustainability in practice and performance.

We achieve our goals through multiple signature programs and initiatives.

Funding Programs

The Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation provides five funding programs designed to help Pitt faculty and students engage in sustainability research, education and outreach.

The John C. Mascaro and Len Peters Faculty Fellowships in Sustainability

Faculty Fellows are expected to contribute to intra- and inter-disciplinary research as well as help to team-teach sustainability courses as part of the university’s undergraduate sustainability certificate and M.S. degree in Sustainable Engineering. Faculty members from all disciplines across the University of Pittsburgh are encouraged to apply.

Research Seed Grant Program in Sustainability

Seed grants are designed to support graduate students and post-doctoral fellows enabling them to focus on high-quality research projects in sustainability. The goals of the grants are: (1) catalyze the formation of interdisciplinary synergistic research teams focused on sustainability (2) fund projects capable of obtaining external funding upon completion; and (3) enhance Pitt’s national recognition in sustainability and the visibility of interdisciplinary sustainability research on campus.

faculty fellow photo

Undergraduate Summer Research

The Undergraduate Summer Research Program provides students with full-time sustainability research that goes beyond classroom curriculum enabling students working on hands-on research under the guidance and mentorship of sustainability focused faculty and graduate students.

URP summer cohort photo

Conference Grants Program

In order to more broadly promote Pitt sustainability research as well as provide opportunities for associated students to learn about cutting edge research and educational programs throughout the country and abroad, MCSI allocates funds to support undergraduate and graduate student participation at conferences.

conference grants photo

Student Projects Grants

Aimed at making our campus and community more sustainable, these funds are intended to support student groups who are initiating programs, activities or events that cover the broad topics of sustainability and help to advance Pitt’s Sustainability Plan.

Alt Break Photo

Education and Curriculum

MCSI is also leading University efforts to infuse sustainability into undergraduate education.

1st Year Presentations

Partnering with PittServes, the Office of Sustainability and Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, MCSI has trained student volunteers to provide sustainability presentations within first year seminars. These presentations are a great way to introduce students to the range of sustainability initiatives and the many ways they can engage with sustainability on campus. Click to view a recording of the 2020-2021 academic presentation

Green Team Photo

Attribute Codes

The Sustainability Attribute Codes provide students with multiple methods of engagement and levels of commitment. Students can use attribute codes provide a way for pairing Pitt courses/Faculty expertise with student interest in Sustainability. Specifically, these codes allow students to quickly identify Sustainability courses as they select their classes each semester.

attribute codes

Sustainability Distinction

The distinction aims to provide students with a mechanism to gain recognition and “credit” for their outside-the-classroom endeavors and thus broadening the number of undergraduate students participating in sustainability activities throughout campus.

Sust Distinction Photo

Undergraduate Certificate

The Undergraduate Certificate in Sustainability provides undergraduate students the opportunity to enhance their education by including sustainability in their course of study. This certificate program transcends existing Schools and Departments at the University of Pittsburgh, capitalizes on ongoing Sustainability-growth opportunities in teaching and research at the University of Pittsburgh, and utilizes the framework of the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation (MCSI) to execute the certificate. 


 certificate photo from symposium

External Partners

Our faculty and students want to have a real impact within our community and seek industrial, non-profit and community partners to address real world sustainability challenges. Click to learn more about MCSI's external partners. 

Outreach Photo


Hosted by MCSI and the Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education and Research at Carnegie Mellon University, the Engineering Sustainability Conference is a biannual, international event held in Pittsburgh. The conference brings together engineers and scientists from academia, government, industry, and nonprofits to share results of cutting-edge research and practice directed at development of environmentally sustainable buildings and infrastructure.

Photo from Conference ESC


If you would like to make a gift to support the research, education and outreach programs housed within the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation, please contact Gena Kovalcik at 412-624-9698 / or go to 2021 Pitt Day of Giving is February 23, 2021. Details about giving to Pitt Sustainability and MCSI are coming soon! 

PDoG General Photo

Mascaro Center

Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation
University of Pittsburgh
Swanson School of Engineering
153 Benedum Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15261

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