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Environmental law professor wins interdisciplinary starter grant

Monday, September 14, 2015

LAWRENCE – The Commons, a partnership at the University of Kansas that encourages cross-disciplinary research and learning, awarded $30,000 to KU faculty research groups in the spring 2015 cycle of its Interdisciplinary Starter Grant.

Each research team was awarded $10,000 to launch its interdisciplinary projects in 2015-2016.

Rachel Krause, School of Public Affairs and Administration; Ward Lyles, School of Architecture, Design & Planning, and Uma Outka, School of Law, received funds for their research, which looks at how local energy transitions can be leveraged to advance local social justice objectives. This research project Localized Energy and Climate Adaptation: Advancing Community-Scale Social Justice Goals is situated at the nexus of two approaches to climate change research — mitigation and adaptation — and explores their intersection through a social equity lens.

Michael Vitevitch, psychology, and Arienne Dwyer, anthropology and Institute for Digital Research in the Humanities, will examine how the emerging field of network science can be applied across disciplines. Using the principles of network science, researchers examine complex systems and the relationships that exist between individuals in that system (e.g., people in a social group, animals in an ecosystem, etc.). A two-day workshop in spring 2016 will bring leading researchers to demonstrate how network science has been applied to examine language, the arts, the humanities and the sciences. Participants can also learn how to apply these analysis techniques in their own work.

Mary Anne Jordan, visual art, and Caroline Chaboo, ecology & evolutionary biology and the Biodiversity Institute, will launch a study on indigenous dyes in the Sacred Valley of Peru. Jordan and Chaboo will expand their collaboration with Nilda Callañaupa, a master weaver and director of the Center for Traditional Textiles, to document the biodiversity of the region as it relates to traditional dyeing practices and investigate the biological and cultural implications for teaching and preserving traditional practices.

The Commons will host the next round of Starter Grants in Fall 2015 with an information session for all interested KU faculty at 2 p.m. Sept. 23.

The Commons is a collaboration of the Biodiversity Institute, the Hall Center for the Humanities, and the Spencer Museum of Art. Its mission is to bring together scholars and students from the sciences, humanities, and arts to explore the reciprocal relationships between natural and cultural systems. Interdisciplinary Starter Grants are made possible through the support of the Office of Research.

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