Expanding expertise

Cross-campus proposals sought to enhance energy and environmental sustainability

The UND Energy and Environmental Sustainability Grand Challenge team plans to issue 12 awards of $2,500 each for new research concepts, and at least one award is anticipated in each of the following areas: law and regulation, policy issues, social impacts, health and well-being, public awareness and education, and environmental sustainability.

The UND Energy and Environmental Sustainability Grand Challenge team plans to issue 12 awards of $2,500 each for new research proposals to enhance activities in that area. At least one award is anticipated in each of the following areas: law and regulation, policy issues, social impacts, health and well-being, public awareness and education, and environmental sustainability.

UND is especially good at energy and fossil fuel research.

Tom Erickson

Tom Erickson, CEO of the Energy & Environmental Research Center

In fact, about half of UND’s external research funding goes to those areas, said Tom Erickson, CEO of the Energy & Environmental Research Center.

Erickson, who wants to expand that expertise across campus, leads the energy and environmental sustainability grand challenge team which is helping implement the strategic plan goal 4, enhance discovery.

“Energy is about more than extracting it,” said Soizik Laguette, associate professor and chair of Earth System Science and Policy and a member of the grand challenge team. “Energy is part of our lives. We need to look at the bigger picture and make sure we see all sides of energy for a sustainable, balanced system.”

It’s a grand challenge.

“This is an opportunity to take the strengths the University already has in research and expand and grow it for the benefit of our students and the University as a whole,” Erickson said. “We want to grow for North Dakota, the U.S. and the world.”

12 awards of $2,500 each

Grant McGimpsey

UND Vice President of Research & Economic Development Grant McGimpsey

The energy and environmental sustainability grand challenge team is seeking proposals to enhance those activities.

Twelve awards of $2,500 each will be made for new research concepts, and at least one award is anticipated in each of the following areas: law and regulation, policy issues, social impacts, health and well-being, public awareness and education, and environmental sustainability.

“We want to get as many viewpoints as possible,” said Grant McGimpsey, vice president for research and economic development and captain of strategic plan goal 4. “This call for proposals is a way to do that. Come to us with your ideas and we’ll give you some funds to pursue and solidify them.”

“UND has a long and established track record of conducting energy and environmental sustainability research that makes an impact throughout the world,” Erickson said. “We’d like to grow areas of the University which haven’t specifically focused on this in the past.”

More than technology

Soizik Laguette, associate professor and chair of Earth System Science and Policy

Soizik Laguette, associate professor and chair of Earth System Science and Policy

“This is more than technology,” said Laguette. “We want to look at the full picture of energy, from social effects to housing and equality, to achieve a sustainable, balanced system. It’s important to bring in the human aspect.”

McGimpsey believes UND can come up with innovative ideas that receive national funding.

“We as a society have major challenges and problems to solve, and universities are best equipped to address them,” McGimpsey said. “We’re multidisciplinary and have really smart people who look at problems with a wide range of perspectives. UND has strengths, and we have the opportunity and responsibility to bring those strengths to bear on these problems.”

At the end of the day, said Erickson, “We’re hoping for an increased opportunity for student research, more collaboration across campus, more externally funded research dollars, and an even greater impact to benefit the state of North Dakota.”

More information:

  • Energy and environmental sustainability grand challenge RFP will be released Monday, Oct. 2
  • A workshop and discussion on the RFP will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 6, in 315 Gamble Hall and at noon Monday, Oct. 9, in 315 Gamble Hall
  • Proposals are due by 5 p.m. Nov. 17
  • Funding announcement will be made Dec. 4
  • White papers are due Feb. 9
  • Forum to discuss white papers will be held in late February
  • Contact Tom Erickson at terickson@undeerc.org