Trust For Governors Island Announces Climate Center Interest From Harlem To Hawaii

October 27, 2021

The Trust for Governors Island (the Trust) today announced that the city has received 12 expressions of interest in response to global competition.

The global competition is to create climate-focused research and educational hub on Governors Island.

Over 30 academic and non-profit research institutions partnered on the proposals received, with representation from local, national, and international institutions.

The competition, launched through the release of a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) on June 28, 2021, invited universities and research institutions to establish an anchor institution for a Climate Solutions Center dedicated to helping cities prepare for climate change and growing green jobs in New York City. Proposals are being evaluated by a selection committee.

“New York City is proud to offer a generational opportunity to transform Governors Island into a world-class hub for the fight against climate change, in the heart of our harbor. It’s no surprise that the world’s leading research and academic institutions are jumping at the opportunity,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “These applicants all bring unique qualifications and specialties to the table, and we look forward to finding the perfect fit for this bold step to tackle the climate crisis.”

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“The Climate Solutions Center on Governors Island is a once in a generation opportunity to invest in our climate and New Yorkers’ futures,” said Vicki Been, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development.” We are thrilled so many world-class institutions agree. We look forward to seeing their great ideas and ultimately choosing a final program.”

“Governors Island’s rich history represents stories of purpose and ambition, and we’re proud to continue that legacy by supporting New York City’s leadership in tackling the global climate crisis,” said Clare Newman, President and CEO of the Trust for Governors Island. “With this historic opportunity, we set out ambitious goals to create a leading institution that will train the next generation of climate leaders and create a new hub for solution-based research and innovation. The proposals received represent a belief that we need bold action and cross-sector collaboration to realize a resilient and equitable future for New York City, and cities around the world.”

“Innovative institutions from around the world want to be near the best and brightest talent, and Governors Island sits at the center of it all, right in the heart of New York City,” said Alicia Glen, Chair of the Trust for Governors Island’s Board of Directors. “We’re thrilled to have received enthusiastic responses to this unprecedented opportunity on Governors Island, which will help expand and grow New York City’s climate workforce while creating a new hub to develop the solutions our cities need.”

Over 30 leading university and non-profit research institutions were represented as lead institutions or academic consortium partners in 12 eligible expressions of interest received, including:

  • Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
  • Bank Street College of Education, New York, NY
  • Bard College, Annandale-On-Hudson, NY
  • Barnard College, New York, NY
  • Boise State University, Boise, ID
  • Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, NY
  • Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Millbrook, NY
  • Columbia University, New York, NY
  • Cooper Union, New York, NY
  • CUNY, New York, NY
  • Deltares, Delft, Netherlands
  • Duke University, Durham, NC
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, MA
  • New York University, New York, NY
  • Northeastern University, Boston, MA
  • Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, Okinawa, Japan
  • Pace University, New York, NY
  • Pratt Institute, New York, NY
  • Relay Graduate School of Education, New York, NY
  • Renewable Nations Institute, Chelsea, VT
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY
  • Singapore University of Technology and Design, Singapore
  • Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Edgewater, MD
  • Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, NJ
  • Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY
  • Sustainable Development Commons, New York, NY
  • The New School, New York, NY
  • University at Albany, Albany, NY
  • University of Idaho, Moscow, ID
  • University of North Texas, Denton, TX
  • The University of Oxford, Oxford, England
  • University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, Mayagüez, PR
  • University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
  • The University of Washington, Seattle, WA
  • Vermont Technical College, Randolph, VT
  • Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Falmouth, MA
  • Yale University, New Haven, CT

The responses contained proposals that would anchor Governors Island’s growth as a leading destination for education, research, and innovation dedicated to addressing the global climate crisis. A range of ideas was represented in the proposals received, including both traditional and non-traditional educational curriculums ranging from K-16 to college, graduate and continuing education, convening spaces, field stations for natural interventions related to climate adaptation, dry and wet laboratory space, cultural space dedicated to public education and awareness, incubators and accelerators for emerging business, and partnerships with environmental justice organizations, Governors Island tenants, cultural institutions, workforce development organizations, and private sector partners.

Highlighted core cross-sectoral partnerships represented in the 12 proposals received include collaborations with organizations spanning the environmental justice, cultural, research, and business sectors, and include the American Museum of Natural History, Aspen Global Climate Change Institute, the Museum of the City of New York, the Nature Conservancy, WeACT for Environmental Justice, Global Center on Adaptation, Rotterdam Climate Center, UNESCO, the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Microsoft, TED, and the MIT Climate and Sustainability Consortium, among others. Submitted partnerships also include current Governors Island tenants such as the Billion Oyster Project, the Climate Museum, and the New York Urban Assembly Harbor School.

Ded­i­cat­ed to prepar­ing New York City and cities around the world for cli­mate change, the Cen­ter for Cli­mate Solu­tions will con­cen­trate inter­dis­ci­pli­nary research and inno­va­tion, test­ing and devel­op­ment, and edu­ca­tion and pub­lic engage­ment in a sin­gle phys­i­cal hub on Governors Island. The Center will support New York City’s leadership inequitable climate action by expand­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties for the research and devel­op­ment of solu­tions to ready cities for climate change; attract and grow high qual­i­ty green jobs for New York­ers with a diverse range of back­grounds through edu­ca­tion­al and train­ing opportunities; and create space for New York­ers to learn from, engage with, and play a cen­tral role in cli­mate advo­ca­cy and action. The project is projected to create over 7,000 direct new jobs and nearly $1B in economic impact for New York City.

In June 2021, the City and the Trust released an RFEI seeking an anchor educational and research institution for the Center for Climate Solutions to lease land within 33 acres of development sites, and/or up to one million square feet of adaptive reuse opportunity available within historic buildings on Governors Island. The Trust and the City of New York have partnered to make available up to $150 million of capital funding that may be allocated to support this project.

Proposals are being evaluated by a selection committee including representatives from the Trust for Governors Island team, the Mayor’s Office of Climate and Sustainability, the Mayor’s Office of Resiliency and NYCEDC over the coming weeks. The selection committee will evaluate how respondents articulate a vision that addresses the City’s and the Trust’s goals as outlined in the RFEI, as well as how proposals make a positive contribution to Governors Island’s physical campus and existing community of partners and visitors while creating broader opportunities for New Yorkers who already enjoy the island.

The Trust for Governors Island

The Trust for Governors Island is a non-profit corporation created by the City of New York that is responsible for the redevelopment and operation of 150 acres of Governors Island. The Trust’s mission is to realize the full potential of Governors Island for the inspiration and enjoyment of all New Yorkers, demonstrating a bold vision for public space.

For more information, visit

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