The University of Maryland is launching a cutting edge research center to develop novel policy solutions for today’s most pressing environmental challenges. Principally funded by a newly announced $27.5 million, five-year grant from the National Science Foundation, the multidisciplinary UMD center will bring together the expertise of environmental, social, and computational scientists, engineers, economists, public policy experts and others from around the world.
The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, known as SeSynC, will be home for collaborative research on such critical issues as water availability, sustainable food production and the interaction between human activity and healthy ecosystems. Science, public policy and engineering faculty from the University of Maryland, environmental economists from Resources for the Future, a Washington, D.C-based nonprofit research organization, and social scientists from the University of Michigan will lead activities of the center, which will also draw experts from around the world.
“The collaborations of this new University of Maryland center represent exactly the kind of innovative, interdisciplinary approaches that are essential if we are to tackle the complex environmental challenges facing our nation and world,” said Wallace D. Loh, president of the University of Maryland, College Park.
The center will feature the latest in information technology environments designed to foster collaboration and put scientists and policymakers on the same information plane.
"We intend to create a new model for accelerating environmental discovery," said Professor Joseph JaJa (joint, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies), who will oversee information technology and computational needs at SeSynC. "And that will come from the seamless communication and collaboration between disciplines as diverse as computer science, engineering, biology, public policy, geography, and economics."
Mirroring the state, national and international reach needed to address 21stcentury environmental challenges, the center will be located in the Maryland state capital of Annapolis, located less than 40 miles from the U.S. capital. The center will receive additional support from the University of Maryland, College Park, and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Resources for the Future and the state of Maryland.
Read the UM press release.
August 3, 2011