Wisconsin Energy Institute


The Wisconsin Energy Institute works closely with the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center to support both cutting-edge energy research and a variety of educational programs that leverage the research to enhance teaching and learning associated with understanding energy. WEI education programs target the key ideas associated with energy transformations, economic energy considerations, and energy-related societal impacts.

These educational programs are designed to support formal and informal educators, K-12 and undergraduate learners, and the general public and policy makers who are seeking to understand the very latest in energy and sustainability research.

Undergraduate educational programsWisconsin Energy Institute Director of Education John Greenler talks about the energy challenge facing the United States and what role biofuels can play in the future.

  • Certificate in Engineering for Energy Sustainability: Open to undergraduates at UW-Madison, this certificate program offers undergraduate students a suite of courses addressing energy sustainability that span across the engineering curriculum, with firm roots in “real world” design and engineering practices. See certificate requirements and learn more.
  • Introductory college sustainable biofuels course: Open to UW-Madison undergraduate students also taking first semester General Chemistry and Environmental Studies: People and Resources, this three-credit undergraduate course explores a wide range of interdisciplinary issues associated with bioenergy. There is a strong focus on systems perspectives and understanding the complexities that are involved and so typical for modern scientific and technological challenges. Learn more. 
  • Research Experiences for undergraduates: These programs provide students with the opportunity to become actively engaged in research laboratories. From conducting their own research project to presenting research summaries, students have the opportunity to test their interests in scientific or engineering careers. View programs and requirements.

Resources for educatorsGarret Suen explains the challenge of increasing energy demands to a group of Wisconsin Energy Institute building opening attendees.

  • K-12 Lessons and activities: Teachers and professional educators associated with the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center work closely with scientists to develop materials for the classroom. Many of the techniques described are the same, or closely mimic those conducted by bioenergy researchers, with adaptations made as necessary to work within the constraints of the K-16 classroom. Get lessons and activities.
  • Research experiences for teachers: The Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center's Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program offers K-16 educators interested in conducting bioenergy research, writing curriculum and incorporating bioenergy lessons into their classes the opportunity to participate in the research of the center and the corresponding development of educational materials around the topic of biofuels. Teachers participating in the program will spend seven weeks of the summer working with scientists at UW-Madison or Michigan State University involved in cutting-edge research. Learn more.
  • Summer workshops for educators: We offer two summer workshops for K-12 educators to explore the frontiers of energy research and learn how to engage students in contemporary energy science and engineering challenges. The Energy Institute for Educators is 4-day workshop in August which provides the opportunity to explore the breadth of research and education resources at WEI related to energy, sustainability and climate change. The Bioenergy Institute for Educators is a 5-day workshop in June for educators to learn about the current biofuels and sustainability research ongoing at the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center.Participants in both programs get hands-on experience with classroom-ready materials and instruction on current approaches to teaching energy-related content. Participants are expected to use materials from the Insitute during the following school year. Teams of 3-4 educators (teachers, curriculum coordinators, etc.) are encouraged. Please visit the Energy Institute and Bioenergy Institute program pages for more information.
  • External Education Resources: We put together a collection of external educational resources that may be helpful for teachers and the general public. Take a look at some great energy-related educational resources »