Governor Lincoln D. Chafee and the Rhode Island Science & Technology Advisory Council (STAC) today announced the recipients of the 2014 Rhode Island Research Alliance Collaborative Research Grants. The awards, totaling $806,501 will fund seven diverse teams bringing together deep expertise in the natural and social sciences as well as the arts and environmental conservation to study how marine plant and animal life are responding to climate change in Narragansett Bay.
"This research affirms Rhode Island's status as an international leader in understanding and predicting the response of marine organisms and marine ecosystems to climate variability," Governor Chafee said. "There has been strong evidence and scientific consensus that manmade greenhouse gases will have profound effects on global climate, weather patterns and ocean conditions; effects that the state cannot afford to ignore. These STAC grants will help maintain and protect our waters and marine life."
Data from these projects will lead to improved strategies for fisheries and aquaculture management, better understanding of how to predict harmful algal blooms and the development of communications tools to engage and inform the public on the localized effects of climate change.
Awardees will be recognized during a ceremony hosted by the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), which is involved in two of the seven awards. "RISD values creative problem-solving, critical thinking, and an openness to risk and uncertainty -- fundamental and necessary skills in developing innovative approaches to the world's most challenging problems," said RISD Interim President Rosanne Somerson. "These STAC grant awards represent our belief that bringing art and design together with STEM disciplines can have a transformative effect on education, innovation and economic development."
These grants are the eighth round of awards aimed at facilitating collaborative research in Rhode Island and support STAC's partnership with the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). To date, STAC has invested $9.3 million in collaborative research projects that have yielded a return of $36 million back to the state in the form of grants for continued research, new federal programs, infrastructure improvements, commercialization of new products and venture funding for new companies.