Escaping the bunker mentality, part II…

By Kirsti Ashworth

Last week, I introduced the process of transdisciplinary research: an iterative, co-operative approach that brings communities and researchers together to collaborate at all stages of the research process. But given the difficulties of finding funding for traditional scientific research, can this kind of research become a reality? There are plenty of examples out there that suggest it can.

There are already signs of change: many scientists are starting to consider the practical implications and applications of their research, looking beyond the narrow confines of their discipline, and engaging with local stakeholders. International institutes, science co-ordinators, and funding agencies are actively promoting inter- and transdisciplinary research. The field of sustainability is a prime example. Continue reading “Escaping the bunker mentality, part II…”

Escaping the bunker mentality

By Kirsti Ashworth

Save the date! 2016 is the Year of the Future.

A future that’s bright, a future that’s transdisciplinary…

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Image credit: Arnaud Bouissou/MEDDE/SG COP21

On December 13th 2015, the world’s leaders reached a rare consensus and ratified an historic accord designed to limit climate change to 2°C. January 1st 2016 marked the official launch of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the start of the next Assessment Report for the IPCC. These events have shifted the emphasis from investigating and reporting the physical science behind the unprecedented changes we’re seeing on our planet to identifying and implementing strategies to avoid further change (mitigation) or to minimize their impacts (adaptation).

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Water splitting part II: Research at University of Michigan

By Jimmy Brancho

You know what they say: “You can’t store solar energy without cracking a few water molecules.”

Or, at least, many scientists around the world are working to make that so. As was discussed earlier on this blog, solar water splitting could enable a cleaner energy future by storing energy from the sun’s rays in a stable chemical fuel like hydrogen that can be used on-demand. Ideally, the only inputs needed would be water and sunlight, and the only waste product oxygen. However, the current state of technology is a long way off. Bart Bartlett, Charles McCrory, and Neil Dasgupta are among several faculty here at the University of Michigan that are working to make solar water splitting devices a reality. Each of them approaches the  problem from a diverse angle.

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Coding in the classroom: The next generation of computer literacy

By Hillary Miller

Remember when “computers skills” meant you could type a certain number of words per minute while keeping your hands on the home row? Back in the early 2000’s, I took a keyboarding class where they taught us how to type and said, “You’re good!”. Looking back, though, there was so much more to learn.  I don’t believe my teachers were intentionally withholding information about computers and all their uses, but additional training would have been useful later in life.

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