Walter and Lalita Research Fund Announce Funded Projects

Florida Atlantic University recently received a $1 million gift from Dr. Walter and Lalita Janke to establish the Walter and Lalita Janke Innovations in Sustainability Science Research Fund.


By brittany-sullivan | 6/7/2016

Florida Atlantic University recently received a $1 million gift from Dr. Walter and Lalita Janke to establish the Walter and Lalita Janke Innovations in Sustainability Science Research Fund, which will support faculty research that advances knowledge and applications relevant for improving environmental sustainability.

The fund is administered by the Center for Environmental Studies at FAU and promotes an annual competitive research grant program for FAU researchers. In this inaugural year, $70,000 in direct costs was offered to support advancing knowledge and applications in the following domains: renewable energy and energy efficiency, conservation biology, urban area sea-level rise impacts and responses, energy-wildlife interactions, and wetlands biogeochemistry.                                                                                  

The funded projects will provide support and training for student researchers; promote inter-disciplinary collaborations; develop momentum for additional external research funding proposals; and generate high-quality, publishable scientific papers.

The five funded projects for 2016 are:

  • Myeongsub (Mike) Kim, Ph.D., assistant professor in FAU’s Department of Ocean and Mechanical Engineering, will receive $50,000 for “Microfluidics for Methane Production and Carbon Storage in Deep Underground Reservoirs.
  • Jessica Dell, a graduate student, and adviser Brian Benscoter, Ph.D., both in FAU’s Department of Biological Sciences, will receive $5,000 for “Do Shrubs Compromise the Resilience of Peatland Carbon Storage in the Florida Everglades?
  • Hongbo Su, Ph.D., assistant professor in FAU’s Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatics Engineering, will receive $5,000 for “Monitoring soil and water salinity for South Florida by the integration of remote sensing observations and in situ measurements.”
  • Matthew Sirianni, graduate student, and adviser Xavier Comas, Ph.D.,both in FAU’s Department of Geosciences will receive $5,000 for “The effect of increased salinity in peat soils from the Everglades: Implications for biogenic gas production and release under a sea level rise scenario.
  • Tiffany Roberts Briggs, Ph.D., assistant professor in FAU’s Department of Geosciences, will receive $5,000 for “Evaluating the relationship between beach morphodynamics and critical sea turtle nesting habitat in South Florida: Determining the potential implications of storm activity and sea-level rise.”

For more information on the Center for Environmental Studies at FAU, visit www.ces.fau.edu.

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