By Alyssa Patrick, Office of Economic Development

AlaskaAir-LogoPULLMAN, Wash. – Three million airline miles will be awarded over three years to Washington State University faculty and students conducting research or activities related to WSU’s Alaska Airlines Imagine Tomorrow 2016 sustainability competition.

Grant awardees can use miles to attend external conferences, industry events or presentations or to bring an expert to campus for lectures or events.

One million miles will be granted each year for those working in the categories of food, energy and water, aerospace, biofuels and the built environment.

Applications for the first round close Jan. 15. For more information and to apply, visit https://economicdevelopment.wsu.edu/researchers/alaska-airlines-travel-awards/.

“Alaska Airlines is dedicated to leading the airline industry in environmental stewardship, which includes supporting the research and education taking place at WSU,” said Joe Sprague, Alaska Airlines senior vice president of communications and external relations. “We understand the importance of outreach to advance innovations and develop talent, so we are happy to provide this travel support.”

“Alaska Airlines’ generosity allows our faculty and students to share their work and make connections that will contribute to the latest innovations in sustainability and the training of tomorrow’s workforce,” said Anson Fatland, WSU’s associate vice president of economic development.

The miles are a continuation of WSU and Alaska Airlines’ history of working together toward sustainability. In August, Alaska Airlines and WSU announced the company’s title sponsorship of Imagine Tomorrow. The partnership will expand the program to serve more youth, feature more categories and increase visibility and impact.

Next year, Alaska will fly a demonstration flight using 1,000 gallons of alternative biofuel being produced by the WSU-led Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA) and its partners.

In 2011, Alaska Airlines flew 75 passenger flights using biofuel as part of a strategic initiative called Sustainable Aviation Fuels Northwest – a coalition of WSU, Boeing, Alaska Airlines, airports in Seattle, Portland and Spokane as well as Climate Solutions and dozens of other regional stakeholders – to explore the feasibility, challenges and opportunities for creating an aviation biofuels industry in the Pacific Northwest.

Alaska has set an ambitious goal of reducing its carbon footprint by 20 percent by 2020 (on a per passenger mile basis). Learn more about these initiatives at http://www.alaskaair.com/content/about-us/sustainability/our-mission.aspx.