CSU’s School of Global Environmental Sustainability Announces New Global Challenges Research Teams, Resident Fellowship Awards

The School of Global Environmental Sustainability at Colorado State University has named the 2011-2012 awards for Global Challenges Research Teams, or GCRTs, and Resident Faculty Fellows. In a move to encourage interdisciplinary understanding of complex global environmental issues, the school selected six diverse GCRTs and five Fellows from a wide range of proposals submitted this spring.

The School of Global Environmental Sustainability, or SoGES, funds research projects that are interdisciplinary in nature, involving faculty members and researchers from across colleges. These projects focus on at least two of the school’s research focal areas including climate change and energy; food security; environmental institutions and governance; land and water resources; sustainable communities; and biodiversity, conservation and management.

The 2011-2012 Global Challenges Research Teams:

Carbon Footprint Metric for the Built Environment, Principal Investigators – Chuck Anderson, Department of Computer Science; Alberta Carpenter, National Renewable Energy Laboratory; and Keith Paustian, Department of Soil and Crop Sciences. The Carbon Footprint Metric for the Built Environment team will work as a catalyst to bring together the diverse faculty and expertise at CSU needed to address greenhouse gas mitigation efforts associated with the built environment.
Conservation Development, Principal Investigators – Liba Pejchar, Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology; and Sarah Reed, Human Dimensions of Natural Resources. The Conservation Development group’s activities will include evaluating an emerging approach for sustaining biodiversity and human communities in rapidly changing landscapes. http://cd.colostate.edu.
Environmental Governance Working Group, Principal Investigators – Michele Betsill, Department of Political Science; Tony Cheng, Department of Forest, Rangeland and Watershed Stewardship; and Pete Taylor, Department of Sociology. The Environmental Governance Working Group is a multi-disciplinary community of scholars seeking to advance research on issues of environmental governance and sustainability. http://egwg.colostate.edu
Food, Energy and Waste, Principal Investigators – Susan De Long, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; and Thomas Bradley, Department of Mechanical Engineering. The Food, Energy and Waste team’s activities will focus on identifying viable solutions to global food, energy and environmental crises.
LENSES – Living Environments in Natural, Social, and Economic Systems, Principal Investigators – Brian Dunbar and Lenora Bohren, both with the Institute for the Built Environment. LENSES is designed to lead teams through planning, designing and implementing transformative change to address pressing environmental, social and economic issues stemming from the built environment. http://www.ibe.colostate.edu/lenses.aspx
Managing for Resilience, Principal Investigators – Dennis Ojima, Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability and Department of Forest, Rangeland and Watershed Stewardship; Robin Reid, Center for Collaborative Conservation; Michele Betsill, Department of Political Science; Kathy Galvin, Department of Anthropology; Scott Denning, Department of Atmospheric Science; Jorge Ramirez, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; and Catherine Keske, Department of Soil and Crop Sciences. The Managing for Resilience group will develop a framework for designing sustainable natural resource management strategies for systems undergoing directional change.

“The vision of the Food, Energy, and Waste GCRT is to re-imagine and redefine the relationships between food, energy and wastes so that each system supports improved sustainability overall by creating synergistic relationships,” said De Long, co-PI of the Food, Energy and Waste team. “SoGES funding will provide the seed money needed to conduct a preliminary study to identify knowledge gaps and initiate future research collaborations as well as help us recruit graduate students interested in these issues.”

The Carbon Footprint Metric GCRT will also work to build collaborative relationships both on campus and off.

“The GCRT will bring together expertise from a diverse array of CSU faculty, the National Renewable Energy Lab and outside collaborators who are leaders in greenhouse gas assessment, life cycle analysis and sustainability of the Built Environment,” said Keith Paustian, co-PI of the Carbon Footprint Metric team. “SoGES provides valuable seed funding for organizing an effective team to develop proposals and provide education on the importance of the built environment in the context of greenhouse gases and climate change.”

Five new resident fellows also will receive support from SoGES to advance studies in global environmental sustainability:

Philip Cafaro, Department of Philosophy; research focus – reining in consumption and population growth to create sustainable societies
Eugene Chen, Department of Chemistry; research focus – chemistry for sustainability
Jennifer Coats, Department of Finance and Real Estate; research focus – properties of microfinance institutions
Sid Suryanarayanan, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; research focus – advanced electric power systems aspects of the smart grid initiative
William Timpson, School of Education; research focus – sustainability curriculum development and workshops

“Microfinance is an inherently cross-disciplinary topic, and a wonderful impact of receiving the fellowship is getting to be part of an organization that brings together colleagues from diverse disciplines,” said Jennifer Coats, a 2011-2012 SoGES resident faculty fellow. “I see this as an opportunity for the results of my research and their presentation to promote the mission of SOGES to address human-environmental grand challenges.”

About the School of Global Environmental Sustainability

A first for the state, the School of Global Environmental Sustainability is an umbrella organization that encompasses all environmental education and research at Colorado State University. The school positions CSU to address the multiple challenges to global sustainability through broad-based research, curricular, and outreach initiatives. The school’s areas emphasis include food security, environmental institutions and governance, sustainable communities, land and water resources, biodiversity, conservation and management, climate change, and energy. This approach will capitalize on the university’s historic strength in environmental research and education, and will build upon the education and research that already exists within all eight colleges on campus – from the Warner College of Natural Resources to the College of Business. For more information, go to www.soges.colostate.edu.