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August 2, 2011

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.

Posted by Tim Wheeler at 12:10 PM | | Comments (1)


Kudos to Professor Palmer and her colleagues for receiving this extraordinary and highly competitive award!

Their strategy of creating teams of experts to help solve complex, multi-faceted environmental problems is certain to yield huge benefits for society.

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About the bloggers
Tim WheelerTim Wheeler reports on the environment and Chesapeake Bay. A native of West Virginia, he has focused mainly on Maryland's environment since moving here in 1983. Along the way, he's crewed aboard a skipjack in the bay, canoed under city streets up the Jones Fall from the Inner Harbor, and gone deep underground in a western Maryland coal mine. He loves seafood, rambles in the country and good stories. He hopes to share some here.

Contributor Christy Zuccarini has been blogging about the local DIY craft scene for a year for She brings her pespective on all things handmade to B'More Green, where she will highlight projects you can do yourself as well as crafters who are integrating sustainable methods and materials.

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