The European Union and the Arctic (2015 EU-Arctic Conference)
This conference will bring together academics and practitioners from relevant disciplines such as international law, international relations, political science and marine biology, NGOs, representatives from EU institutions and international organisations to discuss the EU’s potential contribution to enhance Arctic governance. A roadmap for increasing the effectiveness of the EU’s action in the Arctic will be drawn at the end of the conference.
About 40 biofuel and bioenergy researchers from many countries in the Pan American region (from Argentina to Canada) will attend a workshop hosted by the Sustainable Futures Institute at Michigan Tech Wednesday, June 3, 2015, through Friday, June 5, 2015.
The goals of the workshop are to develop a research roadmap report (RRR) with diverse international perspectives and to recommend priority areas for future research. The RRR will be disseminated to funding agencies such as the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy and other federal research sponsors in the United States and their equivalents in other Pan American countries, as well as to industry and the general public.
This is the final workshop in the NSF-funded project “RCN-SEES: A Research Coordination Network on Pan American Biofuel and Bioenergy Sustainability“. The project is directed by David Shonnard (ChE) and with co-investigators Barry Solomon (SS), Kathy Halvorsen (SS), Sam Sweitz (SS) and Robert Handler (SF I).
Bioenergy Across the Americas
The work is part of the Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE), funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Kathy Halvorsen, a professor of natural resource policy at Michigan Tech, helps lead the PIRE research group, which is highly interdisciplinary.
“As we move forward with the project spanning six countries, I am always thinking about how are we going to be able to answer our research questions,” Halvorsen says, adding the project spans social, natural and engineering sciences. “We have to think about how we do our research so we can compare and integrate our data across the countries and disciplines.”
Vital aspect in achieving energy sustainability
Barry Solomon, a Tech professor on the PIRE team, noted that Brazil introduced the flex-fuel car engines now seen across the U.S. that can burn both high-ethanol and low-ethanol gas blends, and that bio-based ethanol has been a major boon to an economy that’s contributed to steady growth in recent years.
“The U.S. talks about energy independence, but it’s not (independent),” he said. “Brazil essentially is.”
U.P. bioelectric effort can follow Wisconsin’s lead
Regardless of the questions yet to be answered, Solomon said he sees biomass as an important part of the U.P.’s electric generation future.
“Biomass should be a part of things here,” he said. “There’s not a massive demand, but it’s far better to get rid of coal. … I think we need a combination of biomass and wind power.”
MICHIGAN TECH HOSTS FOREST BIOENERGY RESEARCHERS
A project this large can be unwieldy, so Halvorsen works with subgroup and country team leaders to effectively pursue their interdisciplinary research in bioenergy. Studying bioenergy naturally builds off multiple disciplines and goes beyond just the global biofuels discussion.
Bioenergy across the Americas
In some ways, the PIRE research is like bioenergy yoga, looking at the best ways to build both flexibility and strength to move gracefully through changing climates and economic markets. From small plantations to spanning continents, the PIRE research seeks sustainability and resiliency using the insight of many disciplines.
MICHIGAN TECH LEADS ON BIOENERGY
Sounds of Research
Michigan Tech has uploaded audio recordings of conversations with various researchers involved in the project — check out their Soundcloud account if you’re interested in hearing them.
MTU bioenergy: teaching the world
The U.P. is leading the effort to not just preserve natural resources, but to put them to work. The work is part of the partnerships for international research and education through the National Science Foundation.
Richelle Winker (SS)/Ecosystem Science Center, has received $39,000 in a Co-op/Joint Agreement-Cost, from the US Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service for the project, Longitudinal Analysis of Population Redistribution by County Type and in Relation to National Forest and Public Lands.
Michigan Tech Employee Service Recognition Event
On Wednesday, May 6th, 2015, faculty and staff members, along with their guests, gathered at the Memorial Union Ballroom for an awards dinner recognizing 25, 30, 35, and 40 years of service to Michigan Tech.
Among those recognized for 25 years of service was Social Sciences Departmental Coordinator Gina Stevens.
Michigan Tech student Melissa Michaelson has been awarded two years of funding to complete her B.S. in anthropology through the EPA Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) Fellowship for Undergraduate Environmental Study. She has the honor of being one of only 34 awards given nationwide in this competition. In addition to funding her education for the final two years of her degree, Melissa will be placed in a paid summer internship at an EPA facility. She is focusing her degree in the area of environmental anthropology with the aim of doing senior thesis research on social and cultural barriers to a plastic free campus and community. Building on her experience designing a display of 600 plastic bottles collected from local trash bins to engage local community members in discussions about consumption patterns, Melissa continues to do community-engaged research in Dr. Richelle Winkler’s Communities and Research class. This year the class, funded by a separate EPA People, Prosperity and Planet grant, is creating a guidebook that former mining communities can use to evaluate the social and technical feasibility of using minewater for geothermal energy. Her sponsor for the EPA GRO Fellowship is Dr. Kari Henquinet.
PI Timothy Scarlett (SS) and Co-PI Junhong Min (SBE), “Cuyuna Range Heritage Tourism Project,” Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Corporation.
PI Patrick Martin (SS) and Co-PI Sean Gohman (SS), “Archaeological Surveys, Fort Wilkins State Park,” Michigan DNR.
PI Timothy Scarlett (SS), “pXRF Study of Antique Pottery in Two Utah Museums,” Utah Humanities Council.
PI Richelle Winkler (SS), “Angler Demographics–An Age-Period-Cohort Analysis,” Great Lakes Fishery Commission.
PI Adam Wellstead (SS), “Measuring Policy Capacity in the Great Lakes Fisheries Sector,” Great Lakes Commission.
With many students thinking about what lies ahead after college, some may be thinking about graduate school or trying something completely new. But what if you could do both? Michigan Technological University offers programs that allow you to volunteer somewhere new and earn your graduate degree at the same time: Office of Surface Mining VISTA (OSM/VISTA) and the Peace Corps’ Paul D. Coverdell Fellowships.
Rhianna Williams is taking advantage of the OSM/VISTA program. Williams currently has a BS in Psychology and a MS in Library Science. She was working toward another master’s degree in environmental and energy policy until OSM/VISTA and Tech joined hands in 2012 and turned her in a new direction. “I joined for the opportunity to practice what I’d learned in the class out in the field,” she says.