Section: EMC2 News

Atkinson's Academic Venture Fund awards $1.8M to 15 projects

June 9th, 2017 ›


By Sheri Englund

The Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future's Academic Venture Fund awarded $1.8 million in 2017, with a record 15 grants to seed novel approaches to some of the world's greatest sustainability challenges.

Several Atkinson teams are exploring new ways to promote planetary health for the well-being of humans, animals and ecosystems. Cornell's new Master of Public Health (MPH) - an interdisciplinary degree program begun in fall 2017 - is co-sponsoring three projects, thanks to a gift from David Atkinson.

Atkinson research teams will work for New York state, finding ways to remediate lakes with legacy pollutants, helping dairy and cattle farmers reduce antibiotic use while protecting their livelihoods, and improving rural resilience as solar development comes to farming communities. Two teams will refine Cornell's Earth Source Heat technology, which aims to bring clean geothermal heat to the Ithaca campus by 2035.

In support of Engaged Cornell, Atkinson is promoting undergraduate contributions to AVF research. Project teams involved with community-engaged research can apply for $10,000 of student research funding through the Office of Engagement Initiatives.

The Future of Pharma Is Sustainable: Many medicines are unsustainable to mass-produce, demanding complex, energy-intensive manufacturing processes and leaving toxic wastes. This team is finding new ways to make drug manufacturing more efficient and sustainable. Partnering with Snapdragon Chemistry, the researchers are testing a new chemical synthesis process, recently discovered in Song Lin's lab, that converts cheap, abundant natural resources like carbon dioxide into pharmaceuticals in a single operation. Combining this discovery with continuous-flow processes suitable for commercialization promises cleaner, greener pharmaceuticals.

Investigators: Song Lin, chemistry and chemical biology; Héctor Abruña, chemistry and chemical biology; Abraham Stroock, chemical and biomolecular engineering.

To read full article listing all projects, go to Cornell Chronicle Onilne.