NSF-AEESP Grand Challenges Workshops - Agenda


Each workshop will be organized around a series of invited talks, follow up Q&A sessions and general discussions.  Invited speakers will be encouraged to focus on a discussion of new research opportunities, divided into three categories, including opportunities associated with:

  • Traditional themes in Environmental Engineering and Science, such as drinking water treatment, wastewater treatment, air toxics, air pollution control, and aqueous contaminant fate and transport;
  • Extension of traditional themes, with examples including such topics as resource recovery from wastewater, water and sanitation in developing countries and new areas motivated by traditional themes (e.g. nanotechnology);
  • Themes outside of our community's traditional purview, examples include the implications/consequences of renewable energy, mitigation of/adaptation to climate change, "green" manufacturing and many areas related to improving sustainability.

These presentations lead to organized discussion of how we may need to adapt our curricula in order to prepare students to work in some of these emerging thematic areas.

The Agenda below is an outline of the topics to be covered at the Grand Challenges Workshop at Rice University in Houston March 31-April 1.  The Agenda for the Arlington, VA Workshop will be provided soon.

  • California Workshop agenda and presentations held at USC, click here.
  • Texas Workshop agenda and presentations held at Rice University, click here.


Location: Virginia Tech Research Center

Day 1 – Thursday, May 19 - all Thursday events in the East/West Falls Church Room

3:00p   Registration opens

4:00p   Welcome, assignment of evening "homework" (Peter Vikesland, Virginia Tech and Greg Characklis, UNC-Chapel Hill).

4:10p   Big Picture - Perspectives from Consulting, Academia, Government
           - Glen Daigger, OneWater Solutions
           - Gerald Geernaert, Department of Energy
           - James Mihelcic, University of South Florida

5:20p   Break; Cocktail Reception Begins
           - Joe Hughes, Dean of Engineering, Drexel University
           - Debra Knopman, RAND Corporation
           - John Volckens, Colorado State University

6:30p   Continue Cocktail Reception

8:00p   Reception ends

Location: Virginia Tech Research Center

Day 2 – Friday, May 20
General Sessions will be held in the East/West Falls Church Room
Breakout sessions will be held in the Farragut West Room, the Vienna Room, and the Smithsonian Room.  Locations will be identified on Friday morning and announced during the morning sessions.

7:30a   Coffee and continental breakfast

8:00a   Welcome, workshop background and objectives (Peter Vikesland, Virginia Tech and Greg Characklis, UNC)

8:10a   The Money (Moderator: Ed Bouwer, Johns Hopkins University)
           - JoAnn Lighty, National Science Foundation
           - Rachel Melnick, U.S. Department of Agriculture

9:10a   Break and Networking

9:20a   Research @ The Cutting Edge (Moderator: Kim Jones, Howard University)
           - Krista Wigginton, Assistant Professor, University of Michigan
           - Desirée Plata, Assistant Professor, Yale University
           - Jordan Kern, Research Assistant Professor, UNC
           - Maya Trotz, University of South Florida
           - Tami Bond, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

11:00a Breakout Groups

12:30p Working Lunch

1:15p   Report back from morning breakout groups

2:00p   Breakout Groups

3:30p   General Discussion of how Environmental Engineering and Science moves forward and report back from afternoon Breakout Groups

3:45p   Day’s recap and discussion of the future (Greg Characklis, UNC; Bill Cooper, NSF)

4:00p   Adjourn