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NU FEWS aims to engage faculty campuswide


Generating new ideas and identifying interdisciplinary research teams focused on research at the intersection of food, energy and water systems is the goal of NU FEWS, a new campuswide initiative.

This initiative was developed in response to a new multi-agency focus area for federal funding – Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy and Water Systems, or INFEWS – led by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Office of Research and Economic Development launched this initiative in collaboration with the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Education and Human Sciences, and Engineering.

The goal of NU FEWS is to involve faculty from every discipline on campus in discussing and generating novel ideas for INFEWS proposals. It kicked off with an Oct. 22 meeting, the first of six NU FEWS + Conversations. Andy Burnett from Knowinnovation, UNL’s partner in NU FEWS, introduced more than 100 faculty from eight of nine UNL colleges to the collaborative process for accelerating interdisciplinary innovation that has been adopted by NSF and other scientific agencies in the U.S. and abroad. This process will take place at UNL over the next five months.

The next four NU FEWS + Conversations will feature UNL faculty discussing diverse dimensions of the FEWS nexus – think short TED talks with lunch or hors d’oeuvres included. The speakers will explore how their research areas relate to the FEWS nexus, and provide a way for faculty from other disciplines to see how they might participate in generating research ideas.

A panel of faculty who were invited to attend NSF-sponsored INFEWS symposia will lead the final NU FEWS + Conversation. They will report on topics and discussions from the symposia, which NSF will use as a source of research ideas and topics for upcoming calls for proposals.

All faculty will receive email invitations to the NU FEWS + Conversations, and additional details and updates will be posted on the NU FEWS website.

NU FEWS + Conversation dates, locations and speakers are:

Nov. 12, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Colonial Room, Nebraska Union. Presenters: Craig Allen, natural resources; David Wishart, geography; Mehmet Can Vuran, computer science and engineering.

Nov. 20, 3:30-5 p.m., Prairie Suite, Nebraska East Union. Presenters: Lisa Pytlik-Zillig, educational psychology; Carrick Detweiler, computer science and engineering; Konstantinos Giannakas, agricultural economics.

Dec. 3, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Colonial Room, Nebraska Union. Presenters: Rebecca Lai, chemistry; Tom Clemente, agronomy and horticulture, plant biotech; Shannon Bartelt-Hunt, civil engineering.

Dec. 11, 3-4:30 p.m., Prairie Suite, Nebraska East Union. Presenters: Nicholas Brozovic, Daugherty Water for Food Institute; Concetta DiRusso, biochemistry; Sarah Thomas Karle, landscape architecture.

Jan. 14, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Regency Suite, Nebraska Union. Faculty invited to NSF-sponsored INFEWS symposia report-back: Nicholas Brozovic, Daugherty Water for Food Institute; Barry Cheung, chemistry; Chris Cornelius, civil engineering; Taro Mieno, agricultural economics; Francisco Munoz Arriola, biological systems engineering; Jeyam Subbiah, food science and technology; Karrie Weber, earth and atmospheric sciences, biological sciences.

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