Grand Challenges Awards Two New Investigator Grants

Carol Peters ・ High Meadows Environmental Institute
Craig Arnold
Craig Arnold, Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Lars Hedin
Lars Hedin, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

The Grand Challenges Selection Committee has awarded two 2009 New Investigator Grants. The recipients, Craig Arnold, Associate Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and Lars Hedin, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, will receive funding for projects that will be integrated teaching and research initiatives within the Siebel Energy Grand Challenge.

Craig Arnold has been awarded $100,000 for a one-year project, Extended Lifetime Energy Storage for Alternative Energy. Arnold will develop hybrid energy storage systems that realize improved efficiencies and long-lifetime integration with alternative energy systems.

As part of the project, Arnold plans to develop an introductory undergraduate course “Technology Challenges and Opportunities in Alternative and Sustainable Energy.” This course will include an outreach component, as student groups will develop table-top demonstrations on an alternative or sustainable energy topic they choose, and present them to a general audience at a public venue.

Lars Hedin is collaborating with Silvia Bulow, Graduate Student in Geosciences, on a two-year project, Climate and Tropical Ecosystems: Bridging Molecular Biology and Functional Biogeochemistry, that has been funded $200,000.

Hedin and Bulow will couple the techniques of functional biogeochemistry and molecular biology to probe critical feedbacks that govern tropical ecosystems’ influence on Earth’s changing climate. As part of this project Hedin plans to introduce new pedagogical themes to his existing course, EEB/ENV 417: Ecosystem and Global Change, and develop experiential learning opportunities for undergraduates including field research and internships in Panama.

About Grand Challenges

The Grand Challenges Program was launched in 2007 by the Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI) in cooperation with the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and the Woodrow Wilson School. It is organized around three central themes — Energy, Development and Global Health. This integrated research and teaching initiative addresses complex global environmental issues with scientific, technical and policy dimensions.

Since the program’s inception, twenty-four new research projects have been seeded with Grand Challenges resources, involving nearly forty faculty from 18 academic disciplines.