facing the changing landscape of energy, natural resources, and the environment


The Payne Institute for Public Policy at Colorado School of Mines is in a unique position to serve as a nexus for high-quality, data-driven, solutions-oriented research and dialogue needed to inform energy and environmental policy at this critical moment. The Payne Institute can harness the faculty and student body of an institution with deep roots in mining and petroleum engineering, but also with superb programs and longstanding relationships spanning renewable energy, water purification, civil and environmental engineering, materials science and other areas. Mines has an unmatched track record in solving tough scientific and engineering problems across the gamut of energy and environmental fields. The university enjoys a hard-earned reputation as an unbiased problem-solver in disciplines often at odds in the energy-environment discussion; the university tagline, a marriage of the words “Earth” “Energy” and “Environment,” is in fact an accurate reflection of our expansive and growing purview.

The Payne Institute extends to public policy Mines’ conviction that energy and the environment must – and can – fruitfully coexist. We are in an enviable position to tap into a deep well of on-campus and alumni leaders in industry and environmental groups around the world. We foster collaboration with a focus on problem-solving rather than furthering entrenched agendas. We’re in Colorado, a hotbed of traditional energy development and a proven incubator of forward-thinking energy policy and regulation – but also a renewable energy and environmental pacesetter. We provide a national and international home for dispassionate analyses that build reliable frameworks for public officials and corporate leaders making decisions that balance market need, economic opportunity, environmental protection and sustainability.

In short, we have all the ingredients necessary to build a world-class public policy institute capable of guiding leaders through a time of great turbulence. Along the way, Mines students and others will gain timely insights into the ethical, societal and political challenges facing the energy industry. As the national media catches on and increasingly calls on the institute’s experts as reliable sources, Mines’ national profile will grow to more accurately reflect its status as one of America’s top science and technology universities.



The Payne Institute’s Research Areas ask – and seek to answer – tough questions of broad consequence. What is the future of oil and gas in Colorado and beyond? How will the electrification of vehicle fleets impact mineral development and the communities where mines will open up? What is the future of natural gas in developing countries? How can satellite data be harnessed to understand energy consumption around the world? How can energy development and water scarcity coexist?

We are sponsoring research and organizing lectures, seminars and round-tables to tackle these challenges and share insights with local, national and international stakeholders. In addition, Payne has developed a commentary series highlighting major policy challenges and the diverse perspectives of the actors confronting those challenges.

As The Payne Institute develops into a world-class public-policy institute, it will help Mines produce graduates whose traditionally strong technical skills will be enhanced by a big-picture understanding of the societal, political and business implications of their fields of choice. It will leverage Mines’ unique position as a trusted partner across industry and the environmental sciences to produce interdisciplinary, data-driven answers to difficult questions policymakers, industry leaders and the journalists covering them need answered. As it does so, The Payne Institute will enhance Mines’ educational and research missions while lifting the university’s profile to top-of-mind rank.

We believe The Payne Institute represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Mines, its students and society at large. We ask you to join us in helping it reach its enormous potential.

For more information about The Payne Institute and its Research Areas, please contact:

Gregory Clough
Deputy Director, Payne Institute
T+1 303-384-2218 | W+1 303-709-5498