Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation


Main content start
Problem 1

Prescribed Burns

Prescribed burns, important for landscape health and preventing catastrophic fire, are not widely practiced, while community-level and household fire mitigation measures are not occurring at sufficient scale.

Problem 2

Wildfire Response

Firefighting effort and emergency evacuation response is limited by the inability to rapidly detect forest fires upon ignition.

photo: Abby Reed

Problem 3

Harnessing Ocean Energy

Tidal currents — a largely untapped source of energy for coastal communities — have been hard to harness because the turbulent ocean waters can batter and damage the underwater equipment.

Problem 4

Risk Reduction Co-Benefits

A challenge in wildfire risk reduction is that we are not very good at rewarding the multiple benefits that can come from removing accumulated fuels. We can pay for thinning or prescribed burns, but what if the removed fuel is then used to generate electricity or to make some engineered wood product?  Can more of the benefits of reducing wildfire risk be captured in order to reduce the financial costs?

photo: Lone Peak Hotshots

Problem 5

Small-scale Producers Lack Information

Small-scale fishers and farmers, especially in poor countries, often have limited information about the status of nearby markets. This results in dramatic fluctuations and inefficiencies in supply and price, because producers have no way to know whether the prices are better in the next village.

photo: Curtis Lind/WorldFish

Problem 6

Tropical Deforestation

Tropical deforestation is still a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, and it has devastating impacts for habitat. One of the factors that makes it difficult to allocate carbon credits for avoiding deforestation is that it is very hard to answer the question -- what would have happened if the credits were not issued? How much carbon was really protected by the credits?

photo: Kate Evans/CIFOR

Problem 7

Planned Relocation

Many homes and communities are located in areas where the risk of disaster (from fire or flood) is too high. It is clear that some homes or communities need to be relocated, but it is far from clear how to manage these strategic relocations in a way that manages costs, allocates costs fairly, preserves a community’s cohesiveness, and sustains quality of life.

Problem 8

Greening Homes and Buildings

Energy consumption by homes and buildings consume around 40% of energy. How can we reduce the energy consumption of buildings by 10% or more over the next 10 years?

Problem 9

Maximizing Hydroelectric Dams

Hydroelectric power production does not always match the highest time of day demand and value for electricity, and dam operations are often not co-optimized with other environmental services.

Problem 10

Smart Cities

5G is envisioned to create smart cities which could be used to signicantly reduce emissions. Yet, no clear winning technology has jumped to the forefront that really has the potential for great impact.

photo: Franck Michel

Problem 11

Carbon Sequestration

Carbon has been difficult to precisely measure in soils, constraining land management optimization for carbon sequestration and inclusion in carbon crediting.

photo: Beth Reynolds

Problem 12

Energy Use by Electronics

Energy consumption by electronics is growing. Significant power is used by devices when idle or not in use. For some devices this can be over 50% of its energy usage. Public policies and regulations continue to struggle addressing this problem. Are there new device designs in the data center or in our everyday consumer devices that can address these issues?

Problem 13

Groundwater Recharge

Groundwater recharge has not sustained natural aquifers in CA. Quantities of water delivered for artificial recharge have been insufficient. Agencies and farmers lack understanding of how recharge operations may be suitable on their lands.

photo: USDA/Pajaro Valley Water District

View of the front of Stanford Campus

Bring Your Own Problem Idea or Technology!