In Fall 2021, the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE) announced that it has successfully acquired or facilitated $34.7 million in external grants from various agencies during the past several months. Some highlights:
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced funding for a new project led by iSEE Interim Director Madhu Khanna to optimize design for “agrivoltaic” systems — fields with both crops and solar panels — that will maintain crop production, produce renewable energy, and increase farm profitability.
This $10 million, four-year project, funded through the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Sustainable Agriculture Systems program with the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign as the lead institution, will study agrivoltaics in a variety of land types and climate scenarios in Illinois, Colorado, and Arizona. The goal is to maintain or increase crop yield, improve the combined energy and food productivity of the land, and diversify and increase farmers’ profits with row crops, forage, and specialty crops across a range of environments
- iSEE has helped facilitate funding to enable geospatial data-driven scientific discovery at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and the resulting research will lead to better understanding of the risks and impacts of climate change and disasters
The $15 million Institute for Geospatial Understanding through an Integrative Discovery Environment (I-GUIDE) will receive the funding over five years as part of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Harnessing the Data Revolution, which establishes five institutes across the United States to explore questions at the frontiers of science and engineering. Shaowen Wang, Professor and Head of Geography and Geographic Information Science and Founding Director of the CyberGIS Center for Advanced Digital and Spatial Studies, will lead the institute. Collaborating scientists and institutions will work with the CyberGIS Center in partnership with iSEE and the U of I’s Discovery Partners Institute.
- $2.1M in additional five-year funding from the Leverhulme Centre for Climate Change Mitigation for U of I researchers, led by Evan DeLucia (Emeritus Professor of Plant Biology), Carl Bernacchi (U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service), and new co-PI Lisa Ainsworth (USDA ARS) to extend the campus’s enhanced weathering experiments using basalt rock on farm fields.
- $2M+ from NSF’s Smart & Connected Communities program for a team led by Crop Sciences Assistant Professor Andrew Margenot to build a “Nutrient Management Community (NuMC)” to help farmers adopt effective and trusted tools that will help address critical water quality issues.
- A $1.7M USDA NIFA subaward for Margenot and Crop Sciences Professor Emily Heaton to help identify ways to diversify the corn belt ecosystem and increase rural prosperity.
- A $1M, two-year grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to bolster an iSEE 2020 seed-funded project to turn ash into energy. The Rapid AI-based Dissection of Ashes using Raman and XRF Spectroscopy (RADAR-X) Project is led by Civil & Environmental Engineering Assistant Professor Nishant Garg.
- Several other awards of $1M or less.
See the attached file for the iQ Fall 2021 to read this article in its original form.