The Abdul Latif Jameel World Water and Food Security Lab (J-WAFS) at MIT recently announced the award of over $1.3 million in research funding through its seed grant program, now in its fourth year. These grants, which are available to the MIT community, are the cornerstone of MIT’s Institute-wide effort to catalyze solutions-oriented research in water and food systems that target the safety and resilience of the world’s vital resources.
This year, seven new projects led by eleven faculty PIs across five MIT departments will be funded with two-year grants of up to $200,000, overhead free. Faculty from six departments were funded under this year's awards, including the departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS), Materials Science and Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and Mechanical Engineering.
Among the awardees is CGCS-affiliated Dara Entekhabi, the Bacardi and Stockholm Water Foundations Professor in the departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, who will be studying impacts of climate on agricultural production. The project, in collaboration with research scientist Sarah Fletcher from MIT’s Institute for Data, Systems, and Society, is focused on Sub-Saharan Africa. This region is experiencing very high population growth, and with its largely rain-fed agriculture is particularly vulnerable to anticipated temperature and precipitation changes brought about by climate change. The MIT research team is leading an academic-industry partnership that seeks to understand how crop production in the region responds to year-to-year variation in precipitation in order to assess the future of food security in Africa. They will collaborate with Radiant Earth, a startup that uses a geospatial imagery technology platform to capture and understand the impact of social challenges in the developing world, to develop a better understanding of the impact of climate on food security in Sub-Saharan Africa.
A description of the project "Assessing climate vulnerability of West African food security using remote sensing observations" is available here.
Adapted from story at MIT News