Penn State Climate Consortium awards three engineering climate action workshops

April 18, 2024

Editor’s note: A version of this article was first published on Penn State News. 

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State’s Climate Consortium announced 11 total climate action workshops that will be funded through its Climate Solutions Accelerator program, including three workshops hosted by Penn State College of Engineering faculty.  

The engineering faculty are Zoubeida Ounaies, professor of mechanical engineering, director of the Convergence Center for Living Multifunctional Material Systems and associate director of the Materials Research Institute; Christine Kirchhoff, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and of law, policy and engineering; and James Mutunga, assistant research professor in the School of Engineering Design and Innovation.   

The workshops will be held in spring 2024 and are designed to engage participants in creating and deploying climate change solutions.  

As a part of its mission, the Climate Consortium launched the Climate Solutions Accelerator, a program designed to foster impactful research and bring effective climate solutions to communities in Pennsylvania and around the world. The program is designed to help launch promising projects, engage partners for real-world impact and implement place-based solutions. In 2023, Penn State researchers were invited to propose Accelerator workshops as level one of the program.   

Ounaies will lead a workshop titled “Biomaterials and Nature-Based Solutions: Achieving a Sustainable, Decarbonized, and Climate-Resilient Built Environment.”  

Kirchhoff will lead a workshop titled “Implementing State-Level Climate Change Policy and Management for Water Resources in California.” 

Mutunga will lead a workshop titled “Scaling One Health Approach through Multistakeholder Engagement in Arthropod Adaptations to Ecosystem Plasticity Associated with Climate Change.” 

The full list including the other eight projects can be found here. 

Erica Smithwick, distinguished professor of geography and director of the Climate Consortium, said these workshops are valuable investments that provide resources to research teams and burgeoning projects that may become tomorrow’s climate solutions.  

“These collaborative workshops are crucial for project success,” Smithwick said. “They enhance projects and teamwork through stronger communication and improved creativity. Workshops allow attendees to exchange ideas from diverse perspectives and boost the quality of the products that emerge.”  

In spring 2024, level two of the Accelerator program will request proposals for projects. In level one, the Accelerator program offered related workshops to help develop ideas. However, having a workshop is not required to submit a proposal in level two.


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