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Earth Clinic Seed Funding Competition Year 2013-2014

Earth Clinic Seed Funding Competition Year 2013-2014

The Earth Clinic Steering Committee awarded five projects for FY14-15. Awards averaged $28,000 per project. The Steering Committee is composed of the following members:

Peter Schlosser (Chair), director of research, Earth Institute, chair, Earth Institute faculty
John Mutter, professor, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (DEES), School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA)
Lex van Geen, Lamont research professor, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Trish Culligan, co-director, Urban Design Lab
Vijay Modi, professor, Mechanical Engineering
Generose Nziguheba, associate research scientist, Agriculture and Food Security Center
Darby Jack, assistant professor, Mailman School of Public Health
Walter Baethgen, senior research scientist, International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI)

Capacity building for indigenous communities of the Vietnam Highlands: an ecotourism/research trail from Bidoup to Klong Lanh stations, and the Tropical Highlands Field School at Bidoup Nui Ba National Park in Lam Dong Province.
Principle Investigator: Brendan M. Buckley
Co-PIs:
Maria Uriarte, Maria Uriarte, professor, Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology (E3B)
Kevin Griffin, professor,  E3B and DEES
Laia Andreu-Hayles, Lamont assistant professor, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

This project addresses the issues affecting the sustainability of the southern Vietnamese tropical highlands biodiversity and forest ecosystems, and the societal livelihoods of the indigenous.  It aims to establish the first International Center for Tropical Highlands field school, and then complete an interpretive ecotourism/research walking trail that spans a region of high biodiversity within the boundaries of BDNP, from Bidoup to Klong Lanh stations.

Mobilizing knowledge about African Indigenous Vegetables to leverage nutritional potential and strengthen the vegetable value chain in the Sahel
Principle Investigator: Hervé Bisseleua

Bisseleua seeks to quantify the relative roles of African indigenous vegetable (AIV) in poverty reduction in the drylands of the Sahel. The research team will develop and pilot a model for community knowledge and capacity building to create and improve nutrition-sensitive value chains of AIVs for children and reproductive-aged women in Potou, Senegal. Results in this region will serve as a model to scale-up findings and lessons learned to other drylands countries.

Savings Monitors: Deploying Local Social Networks to Mobilize Savings
PI: Emily Breza, assistant professor, Columbia Business School, division of Finance and Economics
Co-PI: Arun Chandraskhar, assistant professor, Stanford University, department of Economics

Despite the ubiquity of bank branches in rural India, a significant proportion of the population under-saves, making households particularly vulnerable to economic shocks. This project aims to explore ways to help individuals increase their savings balances through a field experiment that will includes an intervention to assist in account opening and setting reachable goals. The goal is to evaluate whether such community-based interventions can overcome behavioral biases and increase savings balances.

Solar Home Systems and Rural Electrification in India:
Promoting the Use of a Sustainable Energy Technology
PI: Johannes Urpelainen

The goal of this project is to provide poor households in the Unnao district of the State of Uttar Pradesh, India with access to electricity through sustainable solar home systems (SHS). The project will seek to foster the growth of distributed energy business through energy service centers in the catchment area of the region. The research team suggests that the lack of information about SHS benefits and concerns about the functioning of SHS are primary obstacles to higher adoption rates in villages that do not have access to reliable power supply from the national grid.  

A tool for policy makers for visualizing the spatial and temporal uncertainty of malaria epidemic forecasts
PI: Sabine Marx, managing director, Center for Research on Environmental Decisions (CRED)
Co-PI: Derek Willis, postdoctoral research scholar, CRED
Pietro Ceccato. research scientist, IRI
Eric Johnson: Norman Eig Professor of Business, Marketing, Columbia Business School

Marx and her colleagues will build on the groundwork set by Earth Clinic project “A Web-based decision support system for malaria policy makers.” This initial research identified the best ways to communicate the results of retrospective evaluations of anti-malaria interventions. This project will examine how alternative ways of framing forecasts of malaria epidemics affect the decisions of policy makers.  will use online surveys to evaluate the impact of alternative maps of spatial and temporal uncertainty on policy makers.