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UCR-Texas A&M Collaboration Receives $2.4 Million NSF Grant to Fund Food, Energy, and Water Research

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( — Food, energy, and water are vital resources for modern living.

Yet modern societies have yet to figure out how to view and manage these resources as interdependent parts of a single system, thus maximizing their uses and streamlining their costs. In some cases, poor management of one resource has led to unintended consequences for others.

In the United States the problem is especially dire in arid and semiarid regions, where water scarcity and the effects of climate change have complicated resource management, said Kurt Schwabe, a professor of environmental economics and policy at the University of California, Riverside.

Schwabe and two UCR colleagues – Hoori Ajami, an assistant professor of groundwater hydrology, and Laosheng Wu, a professor of soil physics and water management specialist – along with a team of fellow researchers from Texas A&M University, have received a $2.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to collaboratively study and improve upon decision-making processes related to food, energy, and water resources, or FEW.

The grant will focus on two regions of the American Southwest that have experienced resource scarcities in recent years – Southern California and Southern Texas – to better understand the complicated intersections between food production, energy use and production, and water use and production.

In the past, we’ve often seen the FEW sectors be analyzed in silos, or as independent entities,” Schwabe said. “We understand that there are interactions between these sectors, so now the question is: What can we gain by instead analyzing them within one system?”

Schwabe added that the goal of the three-year project, administered by NSF’s Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy and Water Systems (INFEWS) initiative, is multifaceted. A diverse lineup of hydrologists, economists, engineers, and agricultural experts will work together to develop modeling systems for future FEW decision-making that will be shared with industry stakeholders, agencies, and policy specialists, particularly those in areas that already are experiencing resource scarcities.


Activist and Author Bree Newsome to Speak at UC Riverside

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( — In June 2015, Bree Newsome drew national attention to South Carolina when she scaled a 30-foot flagpole outside the state capitol building and unhooked its Confederate flag as an act of civil disobedience against what she perceived as “racist symbolism.”

On Oct. 18, Newsome will speak about the experience and her work as a community organizer and activist during a lecture at the University of California, Riverside titled “Tearing Hatred From the Sky.” Sponsored by UCR’s Women’s Resource Center, the event will take place at 7 p.m. in Room 302 of the Highlander Union Building (HUB).

Denise Davis, director of the Women’s Resource Center, said Newsome’s talk will draw connections between a variety of historic milestones — including the 1960s heyday of the civil rights movement — and contemporary activism designed to combat systemic racism and other forms of social inequality.

“Bree is sure to be an inspiring speaker who can comment on both her lived experience as a black woman and how her personal piece of activism fits into our moment’s continuation of the civil rights movement,” Davis said. “I’m also hoping that she’ll be able to offer some advice as to where we go from here.”

Newsome’s highly visible act of protest, committed June 27, 2015, came just one day after President Barack Obama delivered a eulogy at the funeral of Clementa Pinckney, a black pastor and South Carolina state senator who had been killed weeks earlier during a mass shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston.

“Five days before the action, we huddled in a small living room. What united us was a moral calling and a commitment to doing the right thing, recognizing the power we had as individuals coming together to act as one,” Newsome wrote in an August 2017 op-ed published by The Washington Post.

“With awareness of history and belief in a better future, we decided to attack a symbol of systemic racism with a direct action that symbolized its dismantling. We almost immediately settled on removing the flag, both as an act of civil disobedience and as a demonstration of the power people have when we work together.”

South Carolina’s Senate voted to officially remove the flag from the capitol’s grounds on July 6, 2015. In the wake of the event, Newsome became a prolific author and commentator, regularly sharing her perspectives on newsworthy happenings such as the recent debates over the removal of Confederate monuments across the country and the impact of Colin Kaepernick’s ongoing protests during the NFL national anthem.

Newsome’s upcoming talk at UCR is free and open to the public, and registration is not required to attend. The event’s supporting sponsors include the Center for Ideas & Society, the Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies, and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.


UC Riverside Transformed Into Hub of Innovation with National Science Foundation I-Corp Site Status

Startups for Innovators” workshop, taught by Mark Leibowitz and Jay Gilberg, in spring 2017.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( — The University of California, Riverside is poised to become a hub of innovation with a recent grant from the federal government that will help researchers transform their discoveries into real world applications.

UCR has been awarded the prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) Innovation Corps Site status and a $500,000 grant to provide in-house commercialization training to faculty and students over the next five years.

“The goal is to bridge the gap between public support of science and private capital funding of new commercial ventures,” said Rosibel Ochoa, UCR’s associate vice chancellor for technology partnerships. “This award solidifies UC Riverside’s advancement in the innovation and startup creation ecosystem. It provides a platform for ideas originating at the university to receive the training and support needed to promote paths of success for students, faculty and researchers.”

The NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program prepares scientists and engineers to extend their focus beyond the university laboratory, allowing participants to accelerate research projects toward commercialization. The new award will allow 10 UCR teams per quarter to participate in “Startups for Innovators” workshops, where they will receive NSF I-Corps training on how to interview customers, engage with industry partners and develop ideas into a job-producing business. UCR participants will be eligible to receive up to $3,000 in funding to help develop an idea.

Read the full press release here:

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