UM launches environmental "synthesis" center
The University of Maryland announced today it's launching a new environmental research center that will bring together economists, ecologists, engineers and other disciplines to tackle complex environmental issues like water availability, sustainable food production and large-scale restoration of degraded ecosystems like the Chesapeake Bay.
The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, known as SeSynC, is underwritten by a $27.5 million, five-year grant from the National Science Foundation, the largest NSF award ever for the university.
Environmental experts are increasingly recognizing that science alone isn't enough to deal with knotty issues like climate change, ocean degradation and the like. The center's leadership says its research will draw on social as well as natural science to seek solutions. And they vow to produce what they termed "actionable science," engaging the public as well as scientists.
"The enormity of today's environmental problems requires a new approach to how we conduct research," said Margaret Palmer, a University of Maryland entomologist and environmental scientist who will serve as the executive director of the new center.
To be located in Annapolis, the center will draw additional support from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, which has three laboratories around the state, and from Resources for the Future, a Washington policy think tank.