The University of Arizona today announced a major new scientific initiative to tackle the grand challenges facing science and society, including global climate change, the fate of water and how energy travels through Earth's ecosystems.
The University will lease the 34.5-acre (14 hectare) Biosphere 2 campus in Oracle, Ariz. for a nominal annual fee to conduct such advanced research. A gift from the Philecology Foundation in Fort Worth, Texas, in conjunction with other grants and gifts, will fully support the Universitys research as well as the base costs of operating the Biosphere 2 facility for three years, with the potential for funding of up to 10 years.
"UA will develop Biosphere 2 into a center for research, outreach, teaching and life-long learning about Earth, its living systems and its place in the universe," said Joaquin Ruiz, dean of UA's College of Science. "The facilities and resources at this new campus will be an inspiring place for researchers to gather and to tackle problems that science and society will face now and in the future.
"At Biosphere 2, we will address not only the problems of our current condition, but also those of the 22nd century that are still below the horizon."
UA President Robert Shelton is excited by the potential that Biosphere 2 offers.
The generous gift from the Philecology Foundation, founded by Edward P. Bass, substantially expands the University's ability to link teaching, scholarship and creativity to the needs of Arizona and our larger global community, President Shelton said. Biosphere 2 will provide our faculty and students exceptional opportunities to address major environmental challenges facing Arizona and the Southwest such as global climate change, sustainability of water resources and land-use change. UA excels at the collaborative, multidisciplinary approach these global scientific issues require."