Chi receives NSF Convergence Award

Several Penn State faculty received National Science Foundation Convergence awards as part of the Growing Convergent Research at NSF portfolio. The program seeks to highlight the deep integration of multiple disciplines in order to advance scientific discovery and innovation.

Ming Xiao, associate professor of civil engineering, and Guangqing Chi, director of the Computational and Spatial Analysis Core and associate professor of rural sociology, demography and public health sciences, received $500,000 to "Coordinate a Transdisciplinary Research Network to Identify Challenges of and Solutions to Permafrost Coastal Erosion and its Socioecological Impacts in the Arctic."

This research will establish a transdisciplinary Permafrost Coastal Erosion Research Coordination Network (PCE-RUN) to bring together engineers and natural and social scientists to address the problems that coastal communities in the Arctic face because of rapid coastal erosion caused by permafrost thawing and changing sea ice conditions. The researchers will evaluate the challenges and identify potential solutions during a series of international workshops, publications and engagement with local communities and policy makers.

"NSF has supported cross-disciplinary collaboration for decades," said France Córdoba, director, NSF. "Convergence is a deeper, more intentional approach to the integration of knowledge, techniques and expertise from multiple disciplines in order to address the most compelling scientific and societal challenges."

Through its Growing Convergent Research at NSF portfolio, the foundation seeks to highlight the value of Convergence, the deep integration of multiple disciplines in order to advance scientific discovery and innovation. The Foundation has issued the first set of Convergence awards, supporting workshops, summer institutes, and Research Coordination Networks (RCNs).