Caribbean Initiative Awards Five Interdisciplinary Seed Grants to Clemson Faculty
The Clemson Caribbean Initiative (CCI) has awarded five interdisciplinary seed grants totaling $50,000 to teams of Clemson faculty to help advance their research and scholarship, teaching and service in the Caribbean region.
Clemson is one of the few universities in the American South with a land grant mission relevant to the needs of the Caribbean. In response, the CCI was established in 2016 as a university-wide effort to promote new and ongoing collaborations between faculty, students and partners in the Caribbean. The CCI is led by Sharon Nagy, associate provost for Global Engagement and Gary Machlis, professor of Environmental Sustainability.
“Clemson University has an enthused and skilled faculty and outstanding students, with many having specialized experience and expertise useful to the Caribbean. These seed grants encourage and enable further work in the region to the benefit of both Clemson and the Caribbean” said Machlis.
The five teams selected to receive the CCI seed grants are:
- Saara J. DeWalt, Skip Van Bloem and Stefanie Whitmire will study the carbon footprint of recent hurricanes in tropical forests in Dominica, Puerto Rico, and Guadeloupe to help determine the role of Caribbean forests in the global carbon budget.
- Lauren N. Duffy, Sherry Aultman, Will Culler, Lori A. Dickes, Kelly Ann Flynn, Gwynn Powell and Kendra D. Stewart-Tillman will conduct a project that includes the development of research collaborations and technical exchanges related to sustainable agriculture, tourism, and sustainability policy in Cuba.
- Juan Carlos Melgar, Sruthi Narayanan, Ricardo St. Aime and Brian Lawrence will focus on food security challenges in Haiti through a project that includes educational workshops to train trainers on climate-resilient practices for increasing agricultural productivity.
- Jennifer Ogle, Mark Small, Pam Murray-Tuitte and Cameron Bushnell will interview residents of Dominica to compile disaster narratives of the 2017 Caribbean post-hurricane season to inform recovery and rebuilding efforts and develop a better understanding of the interdependencies of social networks and the built environment.
- Dil Thavarajah, Stephen Kresovich, Elliot Jesch, Pam Mack, Robert Polomski, Ricardo St. Aime and Meredith Mcswain will conduct a study to determine current limitations in Haitian food systems and the nutritional quality of locally available food crops, and establish research collaborations to improve Haitian food security.
The CCI interdisciplinary seed grant program was supported by Public Service and Agriculture; Office of Global Engagement; College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences; and College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences.
“The outflow of interest in this initiative since its inception and through the current seed grant award is indicative of the long-standing and deep interests of our students and faculty in meaningful research, service and collaboration with Caribbean partners,” said Nagy. “We are confident that these seed grants will deepen our relationship and broaden our activities in the region.”