In today’s competitive research environment, developing an innovative and compelling project that makes an impact is more important than ever.
Whether focusing on issues of obesity prevention, improved decision-making about the built environment, or the effects of role models in reducing educational inequalities, researchers must demonstrate the merit of their ideas and a strong track record to secure external funding to move their research agendas forward.
The mission of the Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment (ISCE) is to support faculty to do just that. As part of its signature ISCE Scholars Program, the institute has awarded six interdisciplinary teams seed funding for 2018-2019 to prepare them to successfully compete for external funding through such agencies as the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and other sources of public and private funding.
The ISCE Scholars Program provides up to $30,000 for one year of funding for interdisciplinary teams to develop their projects and enhance their chances of success with outside funding sources.
“The six new projects show the breadth and depth of social and behavioral research engaged in by faculty supported by ISCE,” said Karen Roberto, ISCE director. “Their work addresses contemporary issues at the individual, community, and societal level that require interdisciplinary approaches. It’s this kind of collaboration that attracts the attention of external funding agencies and decision makers.”
The 2018-2019 ISCE Scholars include seed funds for a project involving GCC Faculty Affiliate, Todd Schenk:
Sustainable Renewable Energy Facilities Siting Project: Development and Testing of Sustainable Siting Process
Ron Meyers, Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Todd Schenk, Urban Affairs and Planning
Peter Sforza, Center for Geospatial Information Technology
W. Mark Ford, U.S. Geological Survey, VA Cooperative Research Unit
A rapid transition to renewable energy sources is integral to meeting greenhouse gas emissions targets and other sustainability objectives. Real or perceived issues with renewables projects include: visual/aural landscape changes, depressed property values, health impacts, inequitable distribution of compensation and benefits, procedural injustice, and impacts on wildlife. Opposition delays or stops many projects. Even when successful, developers expend significant resources defending projects in legal, political, and public relations arenas. Developers and other proponents need to identify and adopt siting processes that proactively address stakeholder concerns and engage them to facilitate consensus around proposals. This project integrates public policy, information technology, and social sciences to devise and test improved processes to better engage stakeholders in siting processes. We will develop a methodology for stakeholder engagement and process facilitation, an immersive 3-D visualization and aural model in which stakeholders can experience potential siting options and their impact, and survey instruments to measure project outcomes. A significant component of the project is the development of virtual representations for proposed siting projects using advanced computational modeling. The model approach will be tested with a hypothetical proposal for a wind farm on Virginia Tech land. Our goal is to demonstrate a proof of concept for our proposed processes and technology, increasing the potential to secure future industry funding.
Many of the projects align with Virginia Tech’s Destination Areas and Strategic Growth Areas, including the Adaptive Brain and Behavior, Data and Decisions, Global Systems Science, Integrated Security, and Intelligent Infrastructure for Human-Centered Communities destination areas, as well as the Equity and Social Disparity in the Human Condition and Policy strategic growth areas.
For more information on the ISCE scholars, visit: https://isce.vt.edu/index3/index1.html.