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Climate Initiative teams move forward with planning grants

Five interdisciplinary teams received awards to fund the planning stages of ideas formed during the Washington State University Climate Hackathon in May. The event provided an opportunity for  scientists systemwide to brainstorm ideas for research proposals that will address climate change-related challenges. 

“We are excited for all the teams that formed during the climate hackathon and the ideas generated by these amazing researchers,” said Sammy Rodriguez, interim director for the Office of Research Advancement and Partnerships. “Just getting so many talented experts from diverse fields together to connect and discuss how to tackle some of the challenges posed by climate is a step in the right direction. We have high expectations for all these teams and look forward to learn more from their planned activities as they further develop their ideas into research projects.”

The Climate Initiative is sponsored by the Office of Research Advancement and Partnerships with support from the Office of Commercialization, the Graduate School, and the Center for Environmental Research, Education and Outreach.

Below is a summary of the teams:

Air Quality

  • Goal: Assess climate risks for agricultural workers and livestock to identify adaptation strategies.
  • Funding: $20,000 and a 6-month Research Assistantship (RA)
  • Team Members: Lav Khot, Department of Agricultural Automation Engineering, Francisco Leal-Yepes, College of Veterinary Medicine, Sarah Smith, Department of Animal Sciences, Claire Richards, College of Nursing, Nathan Lima, School of Design and Construction, Sonia Hall, Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources, Julie Postma, College of Nursing, and Alex Fremier, School of the Environment. 

Aquatic Methane Removal

  • Goal: Capture methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from reservoirs and turn it into useful byproducts.
  • Funding: $20,000 and a 1-year RA
  • Team Members: John Harrison, School of the Environment, and Hongfei Lin, the Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering. 

Climate Migration

  • Goal: Examine how climate is affecting relocation of communities in the Pacific Northwest, particularly vulnerable communities in the region, including Tribal Nations and other communities of color.
  • Funding: $20,000 and a 6-mont RA
  • Team Members: Gary Ferguson, Institute for Research and Education to Advance Community Health, Alex Fremier, School of the Environment, Michael Goldsby, School of Politics, Philosophy & Public Affairs, Sergey Lapin, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Anne Pisor, Department of Anthropology, Claire Richards, College of Nursing, Deepti Singh, School of the Environment, Julie Padowski, Center for Environment Research, Education, and Outreach, and  Jan Boll, Center for Environment Research, Education, and Outreach.  

Climate Together App

  • Goal: Design, pilot, and scale up ClimTo, a smartphone app that connects the public to climate data and cultivates grassroots, community-based solutions to climate change.
  • Funding: $55,000
  • Team Members: Sonia Hall, Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources, Sergey Lapin, Department of Math and Statistics, Arjan Meddens, School of the Environment, and Anne Pisor, Department of Anthropology.

Forest Gardens

  • Goal: Greening urban infrastructure through forest gardens; planting pilot forest gardens in collaboration with indigenous communities in urban areas and testing their response to environmental stressors; marrying traditional knowledge of what plants are most climate-resilient to engineering knowledge of how to build green infrastructure.
  • Funding: $55,000
  • Team Members: Gary Ferguson, Institute for Research and Education to Advance Community Health, Ani Jayakaran, Puyallup Research and Extension Center, Karen Sanguinet, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Deepti Singh, School of the Environment, Andrei Smertenko, Institute for Biological Chemistry, and Shannon Tushingham, Department of Anthropology.

For proposal development assistance, please reach out to the Office of Research Advancement and Partnerships by email at or.orap@wsu.edu.

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