Shell Invests $27.5 Million in LSU to Establish Institute for Energy Innovation and Catalyze New Campus District Focused on Scientific Discovery
June 23, 2022
Gift is university’s largest ever from a for-profit corporate partner and largest philanthropic investment in energy-related initiatives
BATON ROUGE – A $27.5 million gift from Shell USA, Inc., will establish the LSU Institute for Energy Innovation and enable construction of the LSU Our Lady of the Lake Interdisciplinary Science Building, the university’s top capital priority. With Shell’s investment as founding partner, the new Institute for Energy Innovation will advance reliable, affordable, environmentally responsible energy for all through a just and equity-driven pathway.
This latest investment by Shell, a longtime partner of LSU, is the university’s largest gift ever from a for-profit corporation and its largest gift ever in support of energy-related initiatives. Shell will dedicate $25 million to launching the LSU Institute for Energy Innovation and $2.5 million to constructing the LSU Our Lady of the Lake Interdisciplinary Science Building, anchoring Shell’s campus presence through a highly visible, Shell-branded space for research and learning.
“Louisiana is a great example of corporations, government and society coming together to address climate change and support a changing energy system,” said Shell USA, Inc., President Gretchen Watkins. “The energy produced and refined along the state’s working coast provides crucial energy for the United States today. In partnership with LSU, we can build on this legacy of oil and gas prosperity while further developing lower-carbon energies and technologies to progress Louisiana’s energy future. Together, we can create the next generation of energy leaders and help build a net-zero emissions United States.”
Shell’s industry-leading partnership with LSU epitomizes the university’s commitment to working with global energy leaders to find new ways to fuel the nation – a core focus of LSU’s Scholarship First Agenda. LSU and Shell will serve as a national model for energy-related collaboration at the intersection of science and engineering, seizing the urgent opportunity for scholarship and solution delivery within the areas of hydrogen and carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS); the coast; and low carbon fuels.
“Energy represents a central driver of Louisiana’s economy, and Louisiana buttresses the nation’s energy supply, putting LSU in the unique position to partner with industry to discover innovative methods to fuel our nation,” LSU President William F. Tate IV said. “Together with Shell, we invite fellow industry leaders to join us in pioneering the research and development pathways forward to protect and preserve Louisiana’s energy economy, while meeting the nation’s future energy needs.”
Through the creation of the Institute for Energy Innovation, leaders in energy-related thought, talent and industrial impact will have the opportunity to invest in the pursuit of a shared vision for the future of energy. Shell’s $25 million commitment to the institute will provide funding for a five-year vision for the institute rooted in five work streams: talent, research and development, policy and economics, social and environmental justice, and technology transfer and commercialization. The institute will be led by a full-time executive director, with guidance from an advisory committee and supported by steering committees, professionals in residence and graduate assistants specializing in each of the three focus areas: hydrogen/CCUS, coast and low carbon fuels.
Approximately $6.4 million of Shell’s gift will be directed toward diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives centered on faculty and student support and workforce development within the energy industry. LSU leads the Southeastern Conference in percent of diversity-related growth over the last four years, and diversity of both the incoming and graduating classes broke university records last academic year.
The cross-disciplinary nature of the Institute for Energy Innovation will span LSU’s broad range of academic areas, providing a framework with pathways for its colleges campuswide to be part of building and continuously elevating the work and impact of the institute. Collaboration across the LSU system is also likely as Shell and LSU jointly build a research platform for energy resilience. Shell’s catalytic leadership gift will be further maximized through the impact of the State of Louisiana’s recent $5 million commitment of one-time funds to improve energy-related research at LSU, enabling the university to become a national leader in CCUS.
“As a legacy energy state on the front lines of climate change, Louisiana is uniquely positioned to forge meaningful solutions for a clean energy future,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “This partnership between Shell and Louisiana’s flagship university supports the continued vitality of our state’s energy industry as well as Louisiana’s emerging role as a national leader in carbon management. I look forward to the contributions LSU and Shell will continue to make here in Louisiana to global energy innovation.”
The impact of Shell’s $2.5 million gift in support of the LSU Our Lady of the Lake Interdisciplinary Science Building will be realized through the construction of a 148,000-square-foot, four-story epicenter for academics, research and industry collaboration. Located on the corner of Tower Drive and South Stadium Drive, the $109 million building will be a central hub for LSU faculty and students across science disciplines to collaborate on nearly $35 million in annual research awards. Included within the space will be a CCUS-focused energy incubator, providing seamless integration with the work of the Institute for Energy Innovation.
Additionally, once constructed, the Our Lady of the Lake Interdisciplinary Science Building will instantly close more than half of the College of Science’s current gap in educational and lab space needs within its five disciplines: biological sciences, chemistry, geology and geophysics, mathematics and physics and astronomy. Demand for increased educational and lab space has grown as the college has marked four consecutive years of enrollment growth while teaching almost one-quarter of all student credit hours at LSU and roughly one-third of total instruction for freshmen and sophomore students.
Shell’s gift is part of the university’s $1.5 billion Fierce for the Future Campaign, the largest campaign for higher education in the history of Louisiana. Today’s announcement is the latest transformative investment in LSU’s Scholarship First Agenda, focused on creating solutions that are essential to the future of agriculture, biotechnology, the coast, defense and energy within Louisiana and throughout the nation. LSU will ascend to its potential to lead the nation in these five key areas through a combination of private, state and federal support. Learn more about the Scholarship First Agenda at www.lsu.edu/president/priorities.