New institute to study chemistry of natural environment
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded $19 million over five years to scientists seeking to distinguish, at the molecular level, between natural and human-caused environmental processes.
Eight grants awarded by NSF's Division of Chemistry will allow the creation of national models of collaborative research aimed at understanding the natural environment and addressing global environmental challenges. The research, to be conducted at a new Environmental Molecular Science Institute (EMSI) at Ohio State University and by seven small interdisciplinary groups at other institutions, is ultimately expected to contribute to beneficial environmental technologies and processes.
"Solving the many environmental problems confronting our 21st-century society will require an understanding of processes at the molecular level and a translation of this understanding to the global level," said Robert Eisenstein, NSF's director of mathematical and physical sciences. "These scientists and engineers will combine chemistry with other disciplines to address those challenges."
Each project will provide a forum for academic scientists and engineers from multiple disciplines to work with industrial colleagues and with students. Education and outreach are critical features of the scientific programs.
The EMSI at Ohio State will study the role of molecular reactions in sites contaminated with many common pollutants, including dyes, solvents and refinery waste. The institute will bring together researchers from fields such as chemistry, public health, civil and environmental engineering, geological sciences and chemical engineering. Researchers from Boston College, Princeton University, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Argonne National Laboratory and several private companies will participate.