2015 Sustainability Progress Report

Research Innovation

At U-M, many disciplines come together to solve complex sustainability challenges and improve lives on local-to-global scales through innovative discoveries in the following areas:


Lake Erie cyanobacterial blooms

U-M researchers led the most detailed genetic study of western Lake Erie’s shifting algal bloom communities that yielded new insights into the factors that were at play in 2014 when high levels of a bacterial toxin shut down the drinking water supply to more than 400,000 Toledo-area residents.

View Water highlights


Mcity opens

In June, U-M opened Mcity, the world’s first controlled environment specifically designed to test the potential of connected and automated vehicle technologies that will lead the way to safer, more efficient, mass-market driverless cars.

View Communities highlights


New Battery Lab

The fall opening of the U-M Energy Institute’s Battery Fabrication and Characterization User Facility, or Battery Lab, further expanded the Midwest’s rapidly growing battery research and manufacturing capabilities.

View Climate highlights

Other 2015 Highlights

Coffee killer

Spreading across Mexico and Central America, a plant-choking fungus known as “la roya” has caused more than $1 billion in crop losses and left hundreds of thousands of people jobless. Two U-M researchers are trying to better understand how it spreads and what natural predators attack la roya.

Read about the “la roya” fungus

Bitter pill: monarchs and milkweed in a changing world

The milkweed plants growing in 40 cube-shaped chambers on a hilltop at the U-M Biological Station provide a glimpse into the future that allows researchers to ask a question: How will monarch butterflies fare?

Read how carbon dioxide effects milkweed