Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

MIT Announces New Initiative on Environment

Published: Thursday, May 08, 2014
Last Updated: Sunday, May 11, 2014
Bookmark and Share
Multidisciplinary program, to be led by Susan Solomon, will encourage collaborations among researchers in different fields.

MIT has announced a major new campus wide initiative to promote transformative, cross-disciplinary research relating to the environment.

The initiative will be formally launched in the fall, and its founding director will be Susan Solomon, the Ellen Swallow Richards Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Climate Science. Maria Zuber, MIT’s vice president for research and the E.A. Griswold Professor of Geophysics, stewarded the establishment of the new initiative, and expressed gratitude to Solomon for having agreed to serve as its first leader.

“Professor Solomon is one of the finest climate scientists in the world,” Zuber says. “Her service in the coming year will be of immense value to MIT, and to the world.” A search will be mounted for a permanent director to run the initiative after its first year.

A major component of the initiative will be the Abdul Latif Jameel World Water and Food Security Lab (J-WAFS), whose creation was announced this week; J-WAFS was established through a major gift from MIT alumnus Mohammed Abdul Latif Jameel. Headed by John Lienhard, the Jameel Professor of Water and Food, the lab is intended to help humankind adapt to a rapidly rising population, a changing climate, and increasing urbanization and development. The lab will work toward environmentally benign, scalable solutions for water and food supply across a range of regional, social, and economic contexts.

Regarding the environment initiative, Solomon says, “Our faculty, students, and staff have a deeply shared vision of being responsible stewards of the environment. This initiative will focus and amplify the aspirations of our community to understand, inform, and seek solutions to pressing problems of the natural world and built environment.”
 
This new initiative, she says, will promote research that engages wide participation by members of the MIT community to address the most significant interdisciplinary problems in our environment, spanning the physical and social sciences; engineering; and urban planning and policy.

“The goal of the initiative will be very specific: for faculty members to self-organize into teams of people who are interested in defining genuinely new research directions; to come up with ideas across schools; and to propose research that might not easily be funded by current federal agencies, which tend to be defined by disciplinary areas,” Solomon says. Such interdisciplinary research is recognized as a key way to bring about significant advances in technology and understanding.

Like the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI), the new program is also expected to produce detailed, comprehensive studies in particular areas of concern — in this case, large-scale environmental issues. “Such studies by MIT would be welcomed on Capitol Hill,” Solomon says.

“One of the most important challenges of our time is the question of how to build a sustainable human society,” wrote MIT President L. Rafael Reif in an email to the MIT community this morning. “The intense interest in this subject from our students and faculty reflects a shared sense of urgency and obligation. With Professor Solomon’s leadership, the environment initiative will help focus MIT’s distinctive strengths on advancing science, engineering, management, design, and policy solutions to help drive the kind of progress required in time to make a difference.”

The initiative, which does not yet have a formal name, will start with funding for five years of operation, partly provided by MIT; after that it is expected to be self-sustaining, Solomon says. It will tie together research undertaken by many departments and centers at MIT, including, in addition to J-WAFS, the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences; the Department of Urban Studies and Planning; the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; the Center for Global Change Science; and the Earth System Initiative, among others. Some themes of the new initiative will link closely with ongoing efforts in MITEI, particularly on climate change and water.

The search for the director was announced in February by Provost Martin Schmidt. The search committee, chaired by Professor Markus Buehler, included Professors Rob van der Hilst, Eran Ben-Joseph, JoAnne Yates, and Melissa Nobles. Professors Robert Armstrong and Vladimir Bulović also served on the committee; they were asked to help think through coordination with existing MIT initiatives. The committee worked with students to get their input.

The initiative will put out a call for initial interdisciplinary proposals this fall, Zuber says, adding: “We want new ideas. MIT can bring its special talents to bear to address global concerns, in the process drawing in people from across the campus.”

Additionally, a group consisting of Solomon, Zuber, Schmidt, and Armstrong (who serves as director of MITEI) will lead a series of conversations around campus on how MIT should engage to address the issue of climate change. This activity will include a series of lectures by prominent speakers representing a diverse set of perspectives.

The initiative will place a high priority on engaging the many students whose interests center on the environment and sustainability issues, Solomon says.

“There are a lot of opportunities for synergies,” she continues. “The initiative will take advantage of the traditionally open atmosphere at MIT, which fosters interactions among people working in very different fields of study. That spirit of collaboration, and the possibilities it unleashes, are very powerful.”


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,000+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 4,400+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Controlling RNA in Living Cells
Modular, programmable proteins can be used to track or manipulate gene expression.
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Long-Term Drug Release
New tablet attaches to the lining of the GI tract, resists being pulled away.
Thursday, April 07, 2016
Pharmacy on Demand
New, portable system can be configured to produce different drugs.
Monday, April 04, 2016
A Programming Language for Living Cells
New language lets researchers design novel biological circuits.
Monday, April 04, 2016
Why Some Tumors Withstand Treatment
Mechanism uncovered that allows cancer cells to evade targeted therapies.
Thursday, March 17, 2016
Cancer Cells Remodel Environments Before Spreading
Researchers at MIT have found that the cancer cells remodel their environment to make it easier to reach nearby blood vessels.
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Paving the Way for Metastasis
Cancer cells remodel their environment to make it easier to reach nearby blood vessels.
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
A New Way to Discover DNA Modifications
Researchers systematically find molecules that help regulate and protect DNA.
Wednesday, March 02, 2016
MIT Study: Carbon Tax Needed to Cut Fossil Fuel Consumption
Researchers at MIT have suggested that the technology-driven cost reductions in fossil fuels will lead the world to continue using all the oil, gas, and coal, unless governments pass new taxes on carbon emissions.
Thursday, February 25, 2016
Mapping Regulatory Elements
Systematically searching DNA for regulatory elements indicates limits of previous thinking
Wednesday, February 03, 2016
Curing Disease by Repairing Faulty Genes
New delivery method boosts efficiency of CRISPR genome-editing system.
Wednesday, February 03, 2016
Living a “Mixotrophic” Lifestyle
Some tiny plankton may have big effect on ocean’s carbon storage.
Tuesday, February 02, 2016
Faster Drug Discovery?
Startup develops more cost-effective test for assessing how cells respond to chemicals.
Friday, January 29, 2016
No More Insulin Injections?
Encapsulated pancreatic cells offer possible new diabetes treatment.
Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Engineering Foe into Friend
Bose Grant awardee Jacquin Niles aims to repurpose the malaria parasite for drug delivery.
Monday, January 25, 2016
Scientific News
Releasing Cancer Cells for Better Analysis
A new device developed at the University of Michigan could provide a non-invasive way to monitor the progress of an advanced cancer treatment.
Releasing Cancer Cells for Better Analysis
A new device developed at the University of Michigan could provide a non-invasive way to monitor the progress of an advanced cancer treatment.
Apricot Kernels Pose Risk of Cyanide Poisoning
Eating more than three small raw apricot kernels, or less than half of one large kernel, in a serving can exceed safe levels. Toddlers consuming even one small apricot kernel risk being over the safe level.
Cell Transplant Treats Parkinson’s in Mice
A University of Wisconsin—Madison neuroscientist has inserted a genetic switch into nerve cells so a patient can alter their activity by taking designer drugs that would not affect any other cell.
Understanding Female HIV Transmission
Glowing virus maps points of entry through entire female reproductive tract for first time.
Genetic Markers Influence Addiction
Differences in vulnerability to cocaine addiction and relapse linked to both inherited traits and epigenetics, U-M researchers find.
Lab-on-a-Chip for Detecting Glucose
By integrating microfluidic chips with fiber optic biosensors, researchers in China are creating ultrasensitive lab-on-a-chip devices to detect glucose levels.
A lncRNA Regulates Repair of DNA Breaks in Breast Cancer Cells
Findings give "new insight" into biology of tough-to-treat breast cancer.
COPD Linked to Increased Bacterial Invasion
Persistent inflammation in COPD may result from a defect in the immune system that allows airway bacteria to invade deeper into the lung.
Detection of HPV in First-Void Urine
Similar sensitivity of HPV test on first void urine sample compared to cervical smear.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,000+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,400+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!