This Spring, RSI began supporting new research projects across campus aligned with the expansion of the institute and our four new research initiatives. From dozens of applications to a new small-scale seed grant opportunity, RSI announced support for 18 seed projects. These projects will be led by faculty from four campus Divisions, and include several collaborations with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
The small-scale seed grants are designed to allow Caltech faculty to be nimble in pursuing exciting new research ideas. The first round of funded proposals includes research into turning bio-waste into sustainable structural materials (see figure above), using natural experiments to determine the result of increased atmospheric CO2 on the growth of plant and forest ecosystems, cultivating symbiotic relationships between soil microbes and plant roots for more resilient crops, and the development of new energy storage devices and new electricity markets to enable the transition to renewable power systems. In addition, RSI will support a larger scale effort to adapt Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS), a groundbreaking new tool for seismic monitoring, to the task of accurately measuring the filling and emptying of underground water reservoirs.
With RSI funding, Caltech is well positioned to support a range of high-risk, high-reward research programs, that lead in the science of sustainability and promise new technologies with real-world impact.
Click here to read more about the new RSI-supported research projects.
RSI will release another call for small-scale seed proposals in the Fall of 2020. These seed projects will invigorate RSI's larger research efforts with new ideas and encourage the Caltech community of faculty, research staff, and students to engage in sustainability efforts.