Tufts is one of a select number of universities that participate annually in the global competition established by Dow Chemical Co. in 2009. The other schools included Cambridge University, Northwestern University, Peking University, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Michigan and the University of Sao Paolo.
Vincent Manno, associate provost and professor of mechanical engineering at Tufts School of Engineering, said, "Dow’s designation of Tufts as one of only seven international universities to participate in its Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge is a terrific validation of Tufts' leadership in environmental education and scholarship."
Students produced research-based projects on a sustainability-related issue with global impact, such as clean water access, food security and animal species decline. Award winners were selected through a peer review process by the participating universities. In addition, they had to demonstrate innovative teaching and excellent research, the potential to solve significant problems through an interdisciplinary approach and alignment with Dow's sustainability goals.
"We are rewarding students and universities who recognize the importance of innovation and excellence in solving challenges because they will certainly contribute to a more sustainable future," said Neil Hawkins, Sc.D., vice president of sustainability at The Dow Chemical Co.
The winners of the $10,000 prizes are:
Georgia Kayser, Ph.D Candidate, The Fletcher School, for her research into ways to develop and maintain long-term improvements to the safety and sustainability of drinking water supplies in Honduras and El Salvador.
Karen Claire Kosinski, Ph.D Candidate, Tufts School of Engineering, for her research into urinary schistosomiasis, a tropical disease that is transmitted via contact with water contaminated by human waste. In Adasawase, a rural town in Ghana, she has proposed building a water recreation area as an alternative for village children who now swim in a contaminated local river.
Amanda Beal, and Ellen Tyler, master's students in the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, for their plan to develop a collaboration between Maine's fishermen and farmers. The team will unite the two communities to develop strategies that will benefit shared natural resources and build resilient food systems.
Three proposals received honorable mentions and $500 prizes:
Alfram Bright, Ph.D Candidate, Tufts School of Engineering, for his work to develop lightweight, easily transportable towers for small wind turbines. This will facilitate faster installation without use of cranes or heavy equipment.
Alexander Keyel, Ph.D Candidate, Tufts Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, for his research into the reasons behind declines in the population of grassland birds.
Nan Yi, Ph.D Candidate, Tufts School of Engineering, for his research into the use of gold ceria as a catalyst in the process by which hydrogen fuel is produced for portable fuel cells.