Creating an Impact Framework for Stanford’s School of Climate and Sustainability (LAW 808N)

Clients: Kathryn Moler and Stephan Graham, respectively transition dean and vice dean of the new School of Climate and Sustainability

The mission of Stanford University’s New School Focused on Climate and Sustainability is to “create a future where humans and nature thrive in concert and in perpetuity.” The School intends to pursue this mission through three pathways:

  1. Advancing knowledge critical to sustaining life on Earth and to ensuring the benefits of a healthy planet extend to all people
  2. Preparing students as future sustainability leaders through rigorous, engaged education and research
  3. Engaging with partners to generate and scale local, national, and global solutions to the defining challenge for humanity

This Policy Lab practicum will examine how the School can marshal its resources most effectively to advance knowledge through research, prepare students for leadership roles, and engage with partners to scale these core functions.

With respect to the advancement of knowledge, we will seek to understand how research aimed at improving sustainability in several areas (e.g., climate change, agriculture) can be supported and disseminated to educate and influence decisions and behaviors of policy makers, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and citizens, while remaining impartial and balanced throughout the process.

The Policy Lab’s deliverable with respect to research will be a generalized framework that will enable researchers to chart a path from developing and testing hypotheses to disseminating their findings and influencing decision makers to act on them. The framework will also enable researchers to assess their progress along the path.

The deliverable with respect to teaching will be the identification of analogies in the preparation and certification of professionals in medicine, law, and other fields, with the aim of assisting the new School in improving its preparation of students as sustainability leaders.

Course Catalog

Consent of Instructor – Application Portal


Paul Brest

  • Professor of Law, Emeritus
  • Director of Law and Policy Lab
  • Interim Executive Director, Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance