In collaboration with the National Science Foundation (NSF), the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture has awarded Oregon State University a $1.5 million grant. This funding is part of the new NSF-USDA INFEWS program focused on accelerating discovery and innovation at the nexus of food, energy, and water systems. The project – a collaboration between Oregon State and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) – is led by Principal Investigator Meghna Babbar-Sebens, assistant professor in water resources engineering and the Eric H.I. and Janice Hoffman Faculty Scholar. At OSU, Babbar-Sebens is collaborating with Ganti Murthy, associate professor in biological and ecological engineering, Jenna Tilt, assistant professor in geography, and Jeff Reimer, associate professor of applied economics. At IUPUI, Babbar-Sebens is working with Snehasis Mukhopadhyay and Arjan Durresi, both professors of computer and information science.
“We are excited to lead this effort that brings researchers from engineering, social science, and computer science to develop a state-of-the-art cyberinfrastructure for adaptation planning in food, energy, and water sectors,” said Babbar-Sebens. “As part of this project, we will develop an intelligent, secure, and human computation-based decision support technology, InterACTWEL, which will enable local and regional community actors to securely network, coordinate, and co-identify robust adaptation decisions to a variety of uncertain, unanticipated, and unstable stresses. Stresses encompass chronic and sudden changes such as droughts, declining groundwater levels, new agricultural or environmental policies, climate change, and more.”
Research in this area is critical to the programmatic goals of the National Academies, USDA, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, all of whom have called for research on improved decision support methods and technologies to address grand challenges on sustainability and human adaptation in multiple sectors.