Breaking Through Developing Multidisciplinary Solutions to Global Grand Challenges


Grant Title

“Breaking Through: Developing Multidisciplinary Solutions to Global Grand Challenges”

Duration of Grant

August 1, 2016 – July 31, 2019

Grant Summary

This three-year program enables multidisciplinary teams to tackle grand challenges in new ways. It also embeds policy experts, publishing professionals, and libraries faculty in the scholarly research and communication process, in order to provide researchers with expert assistance in communicating results directly to the public and key stakeholders.

The model is unique it two ways:

  1. it catalyzes collaboration between STEM researchers and scholars in the Humanities and Social Sciences; and
  2. it integrates communication planning into projects from the start, in order to prioritize reaching communities of interest (policymakers, expert communities, not-for-profit and advocacy organizations, entrepreneurs, and other stakeholders).

The four projects are as follows:

Big Data Ethics Detecting Bias in Data Collection, Algorithmic Discrimination and "Informed Refusal": Led by Chris Clifton, professor of computer science, this research team is addressing grand challenges through a multidisciplinary study of the ethical issues involved in the use of big data and predictive algorithms to make decisions affecting individuals.

From Global to Local to Global: Attaining Long Run Sustainability in US Agriculture: Led by Thomas Hertel, Distinguished Professor of Agricultural Economics, this research team is leveraging existing knowledge, models and data to understand and communicate the interplay between global change and local sustainability of U.S. agriculture in the context of alternative national, state and local policies affecting agricultural productivity and environmental quality.

Global Temperature Goals to Avoid Climate Tipping Points: A Serious Game to Support Serious Decisions: Led by Manjana Milkoreit, assistant professor of political science, this research team is engaging in a first-of-its-kind project that merges a creative knowledge co-production process between scientists and decision makers on urgent questions in global climate change governance and a scientific assessment of the effectiveness of this science-policy interaction.

Decision Support for Flood Risk Mitigation: Automated Data Collection and Visualization Tools: Led by David R. Johnson, assistant professor of industrial engineering and political science, this research team is developing automated data collection tools and interactive decision support systems to tackle the grand challenge of increasing coastal flood risks and address the need for better risk communication.

The Scholarly Publishing Division of the Purdue University Libraries, the Purdue Policy Research Institute in Discovery Park, the College of Liberal Arts and the Purdue Systems Collaboratory are partners on the grant.

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