Making connections

UND Energy Research Week champions Grand Challenges

Liz Legerski

Inspired by her explorations into how boomtown communities are affected by changing populations, Liz Legerski (above), UND associate professor of sociology, saw an opportunity to connect with other faculty who also are researching natural resources development and social impact. Her research will be one of 12 studies featured during Energy Research Week March 26-29 at UND. Photo by Jackie Lorentz./UND Today.

Liz Legerski likes to make connections.

So when she saw a call for white papers on energy research, she saw opportunity.

Inspired by her previous research exploring how boomtown communities are affected by changing populations, the associate professor of sociology saw an opportunity to connect with other faculty who are also researching natural resources development and social impact.

“In North Dakota, the oil boom has impacted communities in profound ways, bringing in new people and economic opportunity and also challenges and social inequality,” Legerski said. “The social context is really important to understand the impact of energy development on people in the community.”

Legerski’s white paper, which focuses on changing populations and communities in boomtowns, will be one of 12 featured during Energy Research Week March 26-29.

Collaborations galore

Tom Erickson

Tom Erickson

Helping faculty find new opportunities to collaborate is the goal of the event, said Tom Erickson, CEO of the UND Energy & Environmental Research Center and champion of the Strategic Plan’s Grand Challenge 4, promoting energy security and environmental sustainability.

“This is important to the state of North Dakota,” Erickson said. “We have two large areas of our economy, agriculture and energy. What we do at UND has impacted energy development in positive ways, and we want to continue to do that. We hope to increase the breadth of activities under this grand challenge and develop a larger foundation of energy research to grow North Dakota for the future.”

The goal of the event is to increase collaboration and knowledge of what’s going on at the University, said Erickson.

“The eventual goal is that all ideas will be able to make it into funding opportunities and external solicitations in the future, whether singly or through collaboration. A very broad group across the University contributed to the white papers, which was our aim. We want to develop greater breadth and collaboration across the university,” Erickson said.

Advancing research

Risa Madoff

Risa Madoff

That’s what attracted Risa Madoff, who also saw opportunity.

“I saw the call and understood that Tom was looking for people who were not doing the usual energy research,” said Madoff. “I saw this as an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of the environmental side of research.”

Madoff’s white paper focuses on building bridges between energy and the environment.

“My main focus is on how climate affects the Earth’s surface, such as by erosion or flooding and how things change,” Madoff said. “We need to understand how climate change affects natural hazards and access to energy and infrastructure. Because energy, land, and water are so interdependent, the effects of the climate system can affect access to energy and indirectly affect human health. I’m excited to present my work to a new audience and make new connections.”

If you go:

The Energy and Environmental Sustainability  Grand Challenge Energy  Research Week will be held March 26–29.

It’s an opportunity to learn about new research concepts, seek out collaboration, tour state-of-the-art research facilities and learn about the Summer Grant Program. Poster sessions featuring all 12 white papers will be on display each day.

The white papers (available on BlackBoard: Energy & Environmental Sustainability) will be presented as follows.

Session 1: Monday, March 26, noon – 1:30 p.m., Collaborative Energy Complex, BIG Idea Gymnasium – Room 141

  • David Delene – Understanding the Sources and Sinks of Volatile Organic Compounds
  • Sheila Hanson – Managing for Sustainability: University Connections to Business
  • Rebecca Romsdahl  – Deliberative Framing: A Public Engagement Strategy for Renewable Energy Transformations
  • Sima Noghanian (presented by Reem Shadid) – Safe and Secure Radio Frequency Wireless Power Transfer

Pizza will be provided. Tours of the Collaborative Energy Complex will be held starting at 1:30 p.m. (lasting approximately an hour).

Session 2: Wednesday, March 28, 4 – 6 p.m., Gorecki Community Room

  • Dan Laudal – Rare Earth Elements: A Collaborative Vision for how UND Research can help Strengthen U.S. National Security and Economic Prosperity
  • Will Gosnold – Williston Basin Geothermal Energy Industry
    Growth Plan
  • Meysam Haghshenas – Magnesium-Based Nanocomposites: Lightweight While Strong Materials of the Future
  • Risa Madoff –  Building Bridges Between Energy and the Environment

Appetizers and beverages will be provided.

Session 3: Thursday, March 29, 8 – 9:30 a.m., Discovery Hall, Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC)

  • Surojit Gupta – Novel Biodegradable Ultra-Light Multifunctional Material Systems (MFMS) for Specialized Applications
  • Elizabeth Legerski – Social Contexts Matter: Why We Should Explore Changing Population Dynamics and Community Perceptions Across the Boomtown Life Cycle
  • Minou Rabiei – Enhancing Regulatory Compliance in the Oil & Gas Industry by Capitalizing on Data-Driven Technologies
  • Wendelin Hume – Improving the Human Variable in Relation to Energy Cybersecurity

Muffins and doughnuts will be provided. Tours of the EERC will be held at 9:30 a.m. (lasting approximately an hour).

Students can become Energy Hawks

Get paid this summer to immerse yourself in North Dakota energy, and help to develop new opportunities to advance value-added energy projects in a truly multidisciplinary team environment.

Pizza will be provided for all attending. The informational meeting will be held Monday, March 26, 5:30 p.m., Gamble Hall, Room 5.