Irving Institute to Relaunch Seed Grant and Pilot Funding Program for Climate and Energy Projects

The Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society is pleased to announce that it will relaunch its Seed Grant and Pilot Funding Program at the start of the fall 2023 term. The program supports collaborative, innovative research, education, and engagement projects at Dartmouth College that advance affordable, reliable energy for all; a sustainable and just energy transition; climate solutions; and/or resilient and healthy communities. During the first iteration of the program, from 2019-2021, the Institute provided nearly $750,000 in funding to Dartmouth faculty, researchers, and staff on energy and climate projects to date, spanning schools, departments, and disciplines. 

While the Seed Grant Program was being reconfigured over the last year, the Institute was able to provide interim funding to the following climate- and energy-focused projects: 

Climate-informed Pediatric Care – An Improvement Project for Pediatric Primary Care
PI: Robert McClellan, Professor, Active Emeritus, The Dartmouth Institute; Co-PIs: W. Carl Cooley, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics; Sarah Crockett, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine; and Erich Osterberg, Associate Professor of Earth Sciences
Dr. McClellan and co-PIs Drs. Osterberg, Crockett, and Cooley and their team will pilot an intervention in a cohort of pediatric clinics within the Dartmouth Health network and within the curricula of Dartmouth medical students and pediatric residents addressing the impact of climate change on children's health. The project will 

•    Elaborate the concept of climate-informed care as a new standard of practice
•    Equip pediatric clinics with climate and health-oriented posters that invite conversations
•    Create a climate and health "toolkit" that operationalizes climate-informed care for clinicians
•    Deliver this "climate and health bundle" to practices through one-hour "lunch and learn" sessions led by two-person teams of experienced clinicians and students
•    Use tools of implementation science to prompt clinic system changes necessary to incorporate climate and health conversations into routine care

Soil Incubation Experiments for Cellulosic Biofuel Production
PIs: Caitlin Hicks Pries, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences and Lee Lynd, Paul E. and Joan H. Queneau Distinguished Professor of Engineering
Project Team: Michelle Wang '21, TH'23

This funding will support an extension of a previously funded Irving Institute Seed Grant project that is investigating the impact of returning high-lignin fermentation byproducts (HLFB) to soils to avoid carbon and nutrient depletion when harvesting inedible crop residues for biofuel production. The team hypothesizes that such depletion could be avoided, and net agricultural benefits achieved, if the HLFB were instead returned to the soil. The team is using controlled laboratory incubations to compare soil carbon and nutrient levels in soils with added HLFB from different biofuel production processes and with added corn stover. The results of these experiments are then used to create a model to scale up the results and project the effects of returning HLFB to different soil types and in different climates.

Season's Calling: The Impacts of Climate Change in the Aegean (Documentary film)
PI: Shevaun Mizrahi, Lecturer, Film and Media Studies

Professor Mizrahi will develop a documentary film exploring how climate change has radically altered the quality of life for a small farming community in western Turkey. Institute funding will support documentation of the struggles that climate change has caused as well as the short and long term strategies that have been devised to overcome them. The project will explore this issue on a personal and observational level, with the filmmaker conducting interviews and collecting footage and photographs of the particular aspects of daily life that have been most impacted by climate change. This research will work alongside and complement data-driven research that is currently being conducted in the region.