Environmental change, population growth, and accelerating consumption of food, energy, and water resources are creating worldwide challenges for urban sustainability so a team of University of Tennessee, Knoxville, researchers, including UT-ORNL Governor’s Chair Frank Loeffler, is developing an international network with a goal to support sustainable urban systems.
These systems, which include cities and their surrounding areas, generally have conflicting interests in terms of limited food, energy, and water resources.
With funding from a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, project leader Jie (Joe) Zhuang, a professor of environmental soil science in the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, and Tom Gill, director of the Smith Center for International Sustainable Agriculture, are partnering with UT colleagues in an interdisciplinary effort. They propose to create an international research coordination network (iRCN) focused on food, energy, and water (FEW). The work should make it easier for FEW-based researchers to think more broadly and inspire outreach, engagement, and multinational transdisciplinary efforts to enhance urban sustainability.
Other partners in the effort include Mingzhou Jin, an industrial engineering professor and director of the Institute for a Secure and Sustainable Environment; Wendy Tate, a professor of supply chain management; and Gary Sayler, emeritus distinguished professor of microbiology.
The proposed iRCN is expected to merge information from research networks among countries of different urbanization and income levels including Argentina, Brazil, Cambodia, Chile, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Guatemala, the Netherlands, Tanzania, Uganda, Uruguay, and the US.