College awards a total of $150,000 to three projects
TAMPA, Fla. (April 25, 2016) – How can tourism and the protection of coastal habitats and marine environments lead to better diplomacy with Cuba? How can community leaders in West Africa get open access to high-tech data analysis, spatial tools and expert knowledge in green engineering, energy, and biofuels for safe and sustainable crop production? And how can we reduce chronic malnutrition or stunting with better access to clean water and improved hygiene practices?
These are just a few of the global social and environmental issues being tackled in the Interdisciplinary Sustainability Research Development Program. This new initiative sponsored by the USF Patel College of Global Sustainability (PCGS) and funded by the USF Foundation will award a total of $150,000 in seed funding to three unique projects each chosen for their special emphasis on multidisciplinary and community collaboration and impactful research working to solve significant global sustainability issues.
“The winning proposals represent the amazing talent at USF and the strong interest in global sustainability and the importance of impact on civil society.” said Richard Berman, Director of the USF Patel College of Global Sustainability
Sustainable Tourism: Pathway to Diplomacy & Coastal Habitat & Marine Environment Protection – Tourism represents nearly 10% of the world GDP and accounts for 1 in every 11 jobs on the planet. With many travelers headed to destinations of cultural and environmental significance the sustainability of our world treasures is a priority that crosses governmental and political boundaries. Both Cuba and the Gulf Coast share similar challenges related to sustainable tourism and protection of our coastal and marine habitats. The project team will work to have USF and PCGS become a recognized United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) International Sustainable Tourism Observatory. The first of its kind in North America, researchers will address sustainability issues and share best practices while increasing the collaboration and cooperation between U.S. and Cuba. The project team includes; Dr. David Randle, Director of Sustainable Tourism at USF PCGS, Dr. Frank Muller-Karger and Dr. Mark Luther, USF College of Marine Science, and Dr. Louis Zunguze, PCGS. Along with partnerships with the City of St. Petersburg, the Cuban Marine Research and Conservation Program (CUBAMAR), UNTWO, and the International Ocean Institute.
USF Global Interdisciplinary Food Technology (GIFT) – Will develop an open-access and freely available centralized repository of data, analysis and tools providing community leaders and governmental planners the knowledge and expertise on sustainable food production and associated energy utilization and water management methods that might not otherwise be readily available. Project team members include faculty from the USF College of Arts and Sciences: Dr. Michael Decker, history professor and department chair, Dr. Herbert Maschner, geosciences and anthropology professor and Executive Director of Center for Virtualization and Applied Spatial Technologies (CVAST), and Dr. Diane Wallman, assistant professor of anthropology. Along with Dr. George Philippidis, associate professor in USF PCGS and Dr. Qiong Zhang, associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in USF College of Engineering
The impact of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene on Stunted Growth – Focusing on a Jharkhand, India where nearly half of all children under five years of age are stunted, this study will look at how the accessibility of clean water, sanitation and hygiene services in combination with nutrition services can reduce chronic undernutrition or stunting. The project team includes; Dr. Shivendu Shivendu, associate professor in information systems decision sciences in the USF Muma College of Business and Dr. Nagi B. Kumar, professor in the Oncologic Sciences Department in the USF Morsani College of Medicine and Director of Cancer Chemoprevention at Moffitt Cancer Center.
The University of South Florida is a high-impact, global research university dedicated to student success. USF is a Top 25 research university among public institutions nationwide in total research expenditures, according to the National Science Foundation. Serving over 48,000 students, the USF System has an annual budget of $1.6 billion and an annual economic impact of $4.4 billion. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference.