Grand Challenges News – Fall 2014

Igor Heifetz ・ Princeton Environmental Institute

This past summer with support from PEI and the Grand Challenges Program, 85 undergraduates travelled to destinations in the United States and 11 foreign nations on assignments with faculty-led research projects, academic institutions, NGOs, and government and community service enterprises.  As interns, the students engaged in research, outreach, policy analysis, and communications focusing on the scientific, technical, policy, and human dimensions of global environmental challenges in climate and energy, sustainable development, and ecological health around the world.

Climate and Energy Challenge News

Contributed by Holly P. Welles, Princeton Environmental Institute

Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI) and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment (ACEE) conducted a joint call for proposal to foster research, teaching, and mentorship in energy and the environment. The call resulted in the support of eight (8) innovative projects in energy and the environment.

The awarded projects involve Princeton faculty from numerous academic units including the School of Architecture and the departments of chemical and biological engineering, civil and environmental engineering, ecology and evolutionary biology, electrical engineering, geosciences, and mechanical and aerospace engineering. Two of the eight projects are jointly funded including and focus on ecological services provided by dry tropical forests and new technologies for energy storage systems such as batteries. PEI is also supporting three research initiatives including two projects focused on Southern Ocean observations and modeling and a third on understanding the carbon metabolism of plants. ACEE supported three additional projects including two awards focused on design of energy efficient building materials and structures and a third award aimed at reducing environmental impacts associated with hydrofracturing.

Health Challenge News

Contributed by Michael Hotchkiss, Office of Communications

In May 2014, Princeton University’s Council for International Teaching and Research selected two faculty proposals to receive grants from the Princeton Global Collaborative Networks Fund, which facilitates international scholarly networks that enable Princeton to engage with centers of learning worldwide.

One of the awarded proposals is a new Health Challenge research project entitled: Princeton Global Network on Infectious Disease Epidemiology: A global collaborative network bridging tropical field epidemiology with advanced epidemiological and policy analysis (Bryan Grenfell, ecology and evolutionary biology and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs). This initiative will draw together Princeton’s advanced epidemiological and policy analysis with the tropical field epidemiology of partners in Vietnam and India.

The collaboration is designed to cover the essential links that translate health data to health policy. The network will conduct global health research and teaching exchanges and will facilitate the transfer of knowledge between Southeast and South Asia. Over the long term, organizers hope the network will expand to include partners working on similar topics around the world, with Princeton serving as a hub for interdisciplinary infectious disease research.

Participants will come from Princeton, the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Vietnam and the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy in Washington, D.C., and New Delhi. This grant is supported by Santander Bank, and the Health Grand Challenge will co-sponsor the network’s activities.