A short description is given for each theme below. This list is based on initial areas of interest identified in the first year of work of the consortium.  Therefore, proposals are also of interest that extend beyond these specifics or cover areas within these focus areas not explicitly mentioned. Please feel free to email mcsc@mit.edu with questions or for additional details.

Interest within this focus area is to inform cross -sector, -mode, and -fuel links across technologies (e.g. low-carbon liquid fuels), processes (e.g. design a fuel-conversion pathway), policies (e.g. economic incentives or regulatory frameworks), and supporting infrastructure (e.g. truck charging stations), required to produce zero-carbon fuels and achieve net-zero climate forcing from tough to decarbonize challenging transportation modes. Member companies have expressed interest in maximizing learnings and linkages across and between transportation modes, such that solutions are co-optimized to span multiple modes at once and avoid competition for fuel resources (e.g., biofuel feedstock). There is also interest in harmonizing emissions factors, developing more granular emissions factors, understanding non-technical tradeoffs in transportation transitions particularly around land use or health impacts, and pathways towards novel technologies.

Within this focus area there is interest in evaluating risks and adaption solutions for value chains, which are susceptible to natural hazards such as hurricanes, wildfires, and droughts. The indirect effects of these hazards can reverberate throughout the globe in the form of value chain shocks. Opportunities for collaborative action may emerge in quantifying climate risk of large systems in energy and transportation including consideration of the stakeholders impacted by value chain disruptions. Member companies have expressed interest in valuations of costs and benefits of proactive adaptation solutions that could mitigate damage to value chains, such as building and infrastructure improvements and shifting to alternative sites and routes.

There is interest in sustainable materials recovery to close gaps in maximizing resource use efficiency as well as identify strategies that provide comprehensive sustainability benefits and opportunities for future innovation. More specifically, barriers could be overcome with innovations in quality improvement of materials as well as rigorous assessment of effective policy including: sorting and separating technologies for materials and chemical recycling of polymers, digital solutions, optimized logistics, and analysis that supports legislative needs in effective materials recovery, including social dimensions of circularity.

Within this area member interest is in accelerating the development of scalable sustainable packaging solutions that align with current property specifications. This could be done through catalyzing innovation opportunities in new materials discovery, packaging systems and value chain design, and evaluation of these technologies to scale. Particular interest has been outlined in bio-based candidates because of their potential for low impact and global deployment. These materials will only succeed if they can achieve analogous performance and near cost parity with existing materials.

This focus area includes interest in deeper understanding and enhancement of natural carbon sinks to store carbon at scale within significant co-benefits, while engaging local communities. The challenges associated with preserving and enhancing natural solutions are technological, economic, and social thus, need a multi-faceted approach. Some opportunities include cost-effective carbon measurement and verification, co-benefits quantification, and understanding barriers to implementation of best practices in regenerative agriculture and forestry.

This focus area covers innovations to remove barriers towards multi-industry adoption of carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration. There is interest in addressing roadblocks caused by poor understanding and communication of geospatial capture, transport, and sequestration efforts; technological readiness of existing platforms; disparate regulatory and financial best practices; and the limited choice of CO2 capture technologies. Given the significant capital investment required there is interest in evaluation and benchmarking of existing demonstration projects and emerging CCUS technologies.

This cross-cutting theme revolves around the opportunity found in data to manage and develop climate and sustainability solutions. Researchers from all fields are encouraged to contribute to a collaborative data environment where data can be easily discovered and enhanced by modern data fusion and hybrid computing methods and techniques. A mixture of data pools and data warehouse architecture can enable flexibility at scale for heterogeneous datasets.

This theme involves human, social, policy, and governance input into the content of technical solution-building. This scope of interest includes social dimensions – equity and agent-centered design, behavior and markets, transparency and accountability, and policy and governance ¬ as in-built components to  development and implement solutions. There is interest in development of equity-based evaluation criteria, monitoring and accountability systems, finance, and benchmarking of the human costs of status-quo practices. In implementation, members are interested to engage applied researchers, policy and governance experts, and pilot sites for community development engaged in the behavioral, institutional, and cultural context of solution building for MCSC focus areas.