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Sustainability News

Faculty Virtual Open House: ASU Project Cities

March 10, 2020

Register by March 29 to attend the Project Cities Faculty Open House on Thursday, April 9th from 2 to 4 pm. New faculty are needed to support this innovative program with real-world impact!

Project Cities is a unique, ASU-community partnership that connects students and faculty in project-based classes to local community partners, with the goal of advancing the communities' sustainability goals. Attendees will be the first to choose projects with the community partners.

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Call for Proposals: AAAS 2021 will be in Phoenix

March 10, 2020

The 2021 AAAS annual meeting is scheduled for February 11-14 in Phoenix. The focus of the meeting will be on understanding the complexities and dynamics of various ecosystems by drawing on a multitude of perspectives.

ASU is the host insitution for the 2021 meeting and we want to show up in force! Proposal submissions for the conference are now open. Submissions were scheduled to close on Thursday April 16, but will be extended due to the community focus on COVID-19. More details can be found on the AAAS conference website.

Sustainability Across the Curriculum Training at Dickinson College

March 9, 2020

Undergraduate faculty from all academic disciplines who would like to learn how to incorporate sustainability into their teaching are invited to attend a workshop at Dickinson College on May 19-21, 2020. Applications are due April 1, 2020. Faculty will work collaboratively to learn to introduce and enhance sustainability content in new and existing courses.

For ASU faculty, this training opportunity qualifies for the ASU Sustainability Curriculum Incentive Program.

Free New York Times access via ASU Libraries

March 6, 2020

Is the New York Times paywall bringing you down? A great perk about working or studying at ASU is NY Times access through a Group Pass. All ASU students, faculty and staff have free access to "all the news that's fit to print."

ASU users must initially register for an Academic Group Pass account through a campus authenticated link, i.e. users must sign-in to their ASU account, and follow these steps.

NSF issues Dear Colleague Letter on COVID-19

March 5, 2020

NSF released a Dear Colleague Letter, NSF 20-052, regarding the NSF RAPID and COVID-19. If your research meets the requirements for the RAPID, please remember that you must contact an NSF Program Officer within your directorate prior to your submission.

Proper protocol is to first email the identified Program Officer. We recommend that your email present your developed idea in a short project summary. The email must clearly show the immediate impact on how to model and understand the spread of COVID-19. NSF uses the RAPID program to address areas of severe urgency related to the availability of or access to data, facilities, or specialized equpment. The RAPID is generally for research responsive to natural or anthropogenic disasters and unanticipated events. The budget is capped at $200,000 and funds are available for one year.

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ASU professors contribute to federal food waste report

ASU Now | March 5, 2020

A new federal report by ASU professors highlights how nearly a third of the food produced in the United States never makes it to the grocery aisle, instead ending up in landfills. The research shows that the entire food chain is fraught with unpredictability, from how much it rains to how many farm workers show up for harvest, to which apple will be plucked from the bin. Literal tons of food are thrown away at nearly every step.

Sustainability Scientists Tim Richards and Ashok Mishra, both professors in the W. P. Carey School of Business, were on the nationwide team of researchers who produced the report.

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Call for Proposals: Investing in New Sustainable Ideas 2020

March 3, 2020

Proposals are due April 1, 2020 for a new faculty fund program offered through the Walton Sustainability Solutions Service, the sustainabilty consultancy of ASU. The program is designed to provide support for projects that will create opportunities to develop new areas of business and to assist business clients in finding solutions for their problems.

The mission of the Solutions Service is to enable clients to implement sustainable solutions by leveraging our exclusive access to ASU's resources. They are seeking innovative ideas, concepts, technologies or analytical techniques that could develop into applications for sustainable decision making in the private sector.

Learn more and apply via ASU InfoReady.

NSF PAPPG 2020 changes take effect on June 1

March 3, 2020

Each year, the National Science Foundation releases a new Proposal & Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG). In 2020, the document’s number will be NSF 20-1.

The changes outlined in NSF 20-1 will be effective for proposals submitted or due, and awards made, on or after June 1, 2020. While the changes are not yet required, it is always best to adopt the changes immediately to be sure to fulfill the requirements. Significant changes for 2020 are as follows.

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Two ASU proposals in top 100 for $100M MacArthur grant

ASU Now | March 3, 2020

Two fish swim in coral reefDream big is the motto for applicants to the MacArthur Foundation for their 100&Change competition - $100 million big! Two ASU proposals made it to the top 100 in the current round: a substance abuse prevention program – keepin’ it REAL – and the Global Biodiversity Observatory, to monitor biodiversity changes in detail. The winner will be announced in the fall of 2020.

Keepin’ it REAL – REAL stands for refuse, explain, avoid and leave – promotes substance abuse prevention among youth within their local cultural context. Flavio Marsiglia, Regent’s Professor in the School of Social Work and the Global Center for Applied Heath Research, runs the program, which has been used in the U.S., Guatemala, Mexico, Spain and Uruguay. If funded by MacArthur, the group will expand the program to sub-Saharan Africa, where abuse of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, is on the rise.

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Call for speakers at VERGE 20

March 3, 2020

More than 4,000 leaders will convene at VERGE 20 to address the climate crisis through action in five key markets: clean energy, electrified transportation, the circular economy, carbon removal and sustainable food systems. The goal is to solve the climate crisis by building a clean economy that is both equitable and profitable.

If you are interested in speaking at one of their five concurrent conferences, submit a nomination by April 24,2020 here. The conferences run from Oct 27-29, 2020 in San Jose, California.

New NSF call for human-environment research

March 3, 2020

A small fence separates the densely populated Tijuana, Mexico (right) from the United States in the Border Patrol's San Diego sectorNSF Human-Environment Research and Geographical Sciences Program (HEGS) NSF 20-547

Due dates

  • August 18, 2020, 3rd Tuesday in August, annually thereafter, OR
  • January 19, 2021, 3rd Tuesday in January, annually thereafter


  • PI or co-PI can submit only one proposal for deadline date.
  • Resubmissions of declined proposals cannot take place sooner than one year or more after the original submission date and must be substantially revised or proposal will be returned without review.

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Brownell named 2020 LGBTQ+ Educator of the Year

ASU Now | March 1, 2020

Sustainability scientist Sara Brownell, an associate professor of undergraduate biology in Arizona State University's School of Life Sciences in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has been named the 2020 LGBTQ+ Educator of the Year by the National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals.

Brownell’s research, leadership and personal commitment to improving science education, especially for underrepresented minorities, led to the organization’s recognition.

One of her studies looks at how active learning classrooms present challenges for LGBTQ+ students. In a second study, Brownell looks at the impacts and reasons why LGBTQ+ biology instructors decide to reveal their identities to their students. For Brownell, it’s a privilege to share her identity with the next generation of LGBTQ+ students. She hopes her actions will help LGBTQ+ students feel more comfortable and accepted in the classroom.

Coronavirus concerns and the university community

March 1, 2020

Just 34 hours before it was to begin, the American Physical Society (APS) cancelled its annual meeting due to coronavirus concerns. More than 10,000 people from all over the world were expected to attend the conference in Denver March 2 -6, 2020. APS will refund registration fees and assist attendees with being reimbursed for hotels. This high-visibility cancellation brings our attention to concerns among our own community members.

ASU Health Services maintains a web page on the Novel Coronavirus, the university's plans and activities, standing travel advisories, and resources for the campus community. This is the central repository for the most current information coming from the university.

New ASU Zimin Institute for Smart & Sustainable Cities calls for proposals

February 28, 2020

The Zimin Institute for Smart & Sustainable Cities at ASU is accepting proposals in four areas; the first two themes are the major focus for this year.

  1. Daily Life & Human Connection / Interaction / Engagement
  2. Sustainable and Healthy Environments & Spaces
  3. Inherent Security, Safety & Public Well-being
  4. Infrastructure Surety, Resilience, and Integrated Functionality

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Hydrology in the age of supercomputing - presentation Feb 28

February 24, 2020

car driving through flooded roadDr. Reed Maxwell will presents the 2020 Henry Darcy Distinguished Lecture on Feb 28, 1 - 2 pm, ASU CDN Room 60 (Design North) entitled "Hydrology in the Supercomputing Age: How Computational Advances Have Revolutionized Our Field, and What Big Data and Massively Parallel Simulations Mean for the Future of Hydrologic Discovery." Dr. Maxwell and the Arizona Hydro Society will gather for a mixer from 2 to 4 pm at Macayo's Depot Cantina in downtown Tempe. $10 suggested donation - appetizers and no-host bar included.

Dr. Maxwell's research focuses on understanding connections within the hydrologic cycle and how they related to water quantity and quality under anthropologic stresses. He is currently director of the Integrated GroundWater modeling Center at the Colorado School of Mines.

How a decision made in China affects Arizona's recycling programs

ASU Now | February 19, 2020

In a global economy, it is not unusual for decisions made on one end of the world to affect what goes on in the opposite end of the globe. So, when China decided in 2018 to limit the number of reusable materials it accepted from the United States (due to their recycling facilities becoming overwhelmed), many Arizona cities like Mesa, Tucson and Casa Grande were compelled to reduce or eliminate their recycling programs.

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The NSF CAREER: Should I or shouldn’t I apply?

February 18, 2020

There is no doubt that one of the most prestigious awards a junior faculty member can receive is the NSF CAREER. If received, the grant’s five years of funding serves as a foundation for a young professor’s research program. As one might imagine, because it is so prestigious and relatively long-lasting, getting it is very competitive. The funding rate is approximately 14% to 24% depending on the directorate.

If you think you might be interested in applying, you first need to be sure that you are eligible.

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Registration is open for winter school in agriculture

February 18, 2020

Rows of green lettuce in a fieldTogether with colleagues from Cornell, Michigan State, Purdue, and Susquehanna University, program director and sustainability scholar Carola Grebitus will present a weeklong winter workshop on various aspects of agriculture from agribusiness, ag economics, consumer studies, marketing and applied economics. The course is open to academics (students, professors, individuals employed by colleges and universities, and other institutions of higher education) and non-academics (consultants and other practitioners from the private sector or national and international organizations).

Attendees will learn to successfully deploy surveys and experiments in research studies in these fields. The workshop will cover: designing surveys, choice experiments, auctions to collect data, related data analysis, results interpretation, and deriving recommendations to stakeholders.

Scholarships of $800 are still available for interested students. The scholarship deadline is February 25. Graduate students at different levels (MSc, MPhil, PG-diploma, and PhD) are encouraged to apply.

To register for the workshop. Seats are limited and registration is first come, first served.

POSTPONED! Emerge 2020: Eating at the Edges

February 17, 2020

Heart symbol. Vegetables diet concept. Food photography of heart made from different vegetables on white wooden table. High resolution product.
Use all of your senses to develop new ways to explore food at Emerge 2020: Eating at the Edges. Look at alternative forms of food production, distribution and consumption in an effort to build a new culinary world that is more inclusive and equitable.

Event at Mesa Arts Center, POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. See website for activities and to RSVP.

RSVP for Wrigley Lecture with "CanopyMeg" Lowman

February 17, 2020

ASU’s Wrigley Sustainability Institute will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day with Wrigley Speaker Meg Lowman. Referred to as "the real-life Lorax" by National Geographic, she has dedicated three decades to the exploration of tree canopies and is one of the first pioneers in the field of treetop science.

In her talk, CanopyMeg will highlight her creative toolkit for whole-forest exploration and discuss how she applies her research to create sustainability practices on local and global scales, such as designing canopy walkways to encourage ecotourism for local income instead of logging.