CCI Seed Funding Competition Year 2013 - 2014

CCI Seed Funding Competition Year 2013 - 2014

The Cross-Cutting Initiative Steering Committee awarded six projects for FY14-15. Awards ranged from $10,000 for exploratory workshops to $35,000 for research projects. The CCI Steering Committee is composed of the following members:

Peter Schlosser (Chair), deputy director of research Earth Institute, chair, Earth Institute faculty
Richard Deckelbaum, professor, Columbia University Medical Center
Hugh Ducklow, professor, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (DEES)
Pierre Gentine, assistant professor, Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering
Klaus Lackner, director, Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy (LCSE)
Art Lerner-Lam, deputy director, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO)
John Mutter, professor, DEES, School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA)
Richard Plunz, director, Urban Design Lab
Roseline Remans, associate research scientist, Agriculture and Food Security Center (Ag Center)
Wolfram Schlenker, associate professor, SIPA
Lex van Geen, Lamont research professor, LDEO
Mingfang Ting, Lamont research professor, LDEO
Maria Uriarte, professor, Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology (E3B)

Distributed small-scale, on-site fertilizer production unit
Klaus Lackner, director, LCSE
Co-PIs Ah-Hyung Park, Lenfest Earth Institute Associate Professor of Climate Change
Pedro Sanchez, director, Ag Center
Vijay Modi, director, Modi Research Group

Lackner and colleagues will work on developing the technical and socio-economic foundation for distributed, small-scale fertilizer production. Using ingredients available in the environment –nitrogen from the air, energy from the sun, and water–the research team aims to produce synthetic nitrogen fertilizer on site. The change from highly centralized production could greatly benefit small farmers, particularly in remote locations

Glacier change and energy: test case in the Rhone River catchment
PI: Joerg M. Schaefer, Lamont associate research professor
Co-PIs: Pierre Gentine, assistant professor, EEE
Léo Lemordant, PhD student, EEE

Schaefer and colleagues will work to establish the quantitative foundation for improved sustainable clean energy concepts in France and Switzerland through a combination of climate, glacio-hydrological and engineering field investigations. The research team will specifically evaluate the first-order impacts of glacier and hydrological changes on energy grids along the Rhone River, where a significant portion of the nuclear and hydro-power of France is generated.

An integrated assessment of how agricultural development may modify the impacts of climate change on food production, poverty, and the environment
PI: Jonathan Hickman, associate research scientist, Ag Center
Co-PIs: Walter Baethgen, senior research scientist, International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI), Mark Musumba, postdoctoral research scholar, Ag Center
Alex Ruane, research scientist, Center for Climate Systems Research (CCSR)
Clare Sullivan, environmental coordinator, Millennium Villages Project

Hickman and colleagues propose to leverage extensive socioeconomic, environmental, and agronomic data to conduct an integrated modeling evaluation of the impacts of agricultural development and climate change on poverty and the environment in villages from multiple sub-Saharan African countries. The project will pull the Millennium Villages Project, weather datasets developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Goddard Institute for Space Studies for Agricultural Model Intercomparison Project.

Nano-bio interfaces: An initiative to provide cost effective solutions for sustainable wastewater treatment, biofuel production and potable water supply in developing countries
PI: Raymond Sambrotto, Lamont associate research professor, LDEO

Sambrotto and his collaborators will organize a workshop to assess the practicality of new nano-bio interfaces and their impact on the environmental and energy needs for communities in developing regions. The project will then test, evaluate and establish methods to deploy bio-engineered nanoparticles that can later be scaled-up to real-world applications.

Role of drought on the biodiversity of tropical rainforests in Vietnam: from seasonal to centennial scales
PI: Brendan M. Buckley, Lamont associate research professor, LDEO

Buckley and his team at the Tree-ring Lab and the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology, will look at the complex impacts of drought on rainforest biodiversity. The research team will seek to establish which functional traits reflect species’ physiological ability to cope with drought, along with whether physiological strategies are related to the phylogenetic history of species. It will also assess whether functional traits of phylogenetic diverse taxa  converge due to selective pressure driven by common environmental conditions. The research aims to ultimately strengthen the adaptation capacity of local populations to the on-going climate change.

Testing the SoilDoc Impact -- Returns to Improved Soil Information Among Tanzanian Small Farmers
Hope Michelson, postdoctoral research scholar at the Ag Center
Co-PIs: Pedro Sanchez, director, Ag Center
Dan Osgood, research scientist, IRI
Malgosia Madajewicz, associate research scientist, CCSR

Michelson and her collaborators will take advantage of the imminent, widespread roll-out of SoilDoc, a new lab-in-a-box soil diagnostic kit designed by the Ag Center, to study yield, management, and poverty impacts and to gather evidence that will guide and refine future implementation of this potentially important tool. SoilDoc combines infield measurements of essential soil parameters such as nitrogen and carbon with information communications technology (ICT) to provide farm-specific management recommendations.