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Faculty Research Team at The George Washington University Receives $560,000 Grant From the National Science Foundation

Grant Will Help Establish Network of Scientists and Policymakers Studying Arctic Urban Centers
October 04, 2012

Media Contacts: Taylor Tibbetts
202-994-1462; [email protected]
Betsy Cantwell
202-994-5379; [email protected]

WASHINGTON – The George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs’ (ESIA) Associate Research Professor Robert Orttung has been awarded a grant of more than $500,000 from the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Arctic Sciences division. The award supports a five-year project led by principle investigator Robert Orttung and George Washington faculty Marlene Laruelle, Nikolay Shiklomanov and Dmitry Streletskiy to build a Research Coordination Network (RCN) of scientists and policymakers studying arctic urban centers. The research will evaluate key interactions between climate, energy and social variables, as well as how the outcomes affect Russia’s arctic urban environment.

"We are delighted that the NSF has recognized the institutional strength of GW’s Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) to organize this important network of scientists and policymakers addressing arctic urban sustainability," said Dr. Orttung. "The theoretical consensus and policy recommendations born out of this research network will be extremely important as climate change increasingly challenges arctic environments."

Russia is the central focus of the project because its territory holds most of the Arctic’s energy resources and is the site of extensive arctic urban development. The project seeks to identify which types of urban settlements best ensure sustainability, and how effective resource extraction and economic policies can reduce adverse consequences to the environment.

The project will be organized around five annual conferences, alternating between Washington, D.C., and Russia. The conferences will each convene more than 30 scholars to present their research. A dedicated web presence, network newsletter highlighting current research and consistent webinars linking project members will foster dialogue between events.

The project’s planned activities align with the goals of the supporting NSF’s Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability (SEES) program, which emphasizes interdisciplinary approaches to physical and social science issues with a high level of societal relevance. The new research will additionally improve the ability of participants to teach graduate and undergraduate students about arctic urban sustainability and the relationship between energy, migration and climate change. It will also affect arctic urban residents that can benefit from area-specific research on environmental sustainability.

About GW’s Elliott School of International Affairs

The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs is one of the world’s leading schools of international affairs and the largest school of international affairs in the United States. Located in the heart of Washington, D.C., its mission is to educate the next generation of international leaders, conduct research that advances understanding of important global issues, and engage the policy community in the United States and around the world. In the January/February 2012 issue of Foreign Policy, the Elliott School of International Affairs’ undergraduate and master’s programs were ranked among the top ten international affairs programs in the United States by the Teaching, Research, and International Policy (TRIP) survey.

About the National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 "to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense…" With an annual budget of about $6.9 billion (FY 2010), it is the funding source for approximately 20 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities. In many fields such as mathematics, computer science and the social sciences, NSF is the major source of federal backing. NSF's goals—discovery, learning, research infrastructure and stewardship—provide an integrated strategy to advance the frontiers of knowledge, cultivate a world-class, broadly inclusive science and engineering workforce and expand the scientific literacy of all citizens, build the nation's research capability through investments in advanced instrumentation and facilities, and support excellence in science and engineering research and education through a capable and responsive organization.

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