The following grants represent a sample of the wide range of research activities taking place at RISD. For information on any of the following programs or to connect with the researchers, please contact our Executive Director, Daniel Hewett.

Marine Life Science, Outreach and Education

RISD is part of a five-year EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) research initiative to explore the impact of climate change on the marine environment. EPSCOR is a National Science Foundation (NSF) program aimed at enhancing research and development, competitiveness, and innovation. RISD is collaborating with URI, Brown, and other institutions of higher education and agencies in the State of Rhode Island on this $20 million grant that began September 2010. At the heart of Rhode Island’s EPSCoR partnership are important scientific questions: how rising ocean temperatures are affecting coastal food webs, whether those temperatures will lead to an increase in marine pathogens and how marine organisms are adapting to this environmental stress. But underlying all of those is another critical question: How can EPSCoR researchers – and the scientific community in general – better communicate complex scientific ideas to the public in an age when science itself is considered suspect, or advancing so rapidly that most non-scientists can’t grasp it? RISD will build research and visualization capacity through EPSCoR’s investment in infrastructure (tools + people + ideas) “to increase its capabilities in the visualization of science and new approaches for public understanding of science.”

RISD Leads:
Charlie Cannon, Principal Investigator
Neal Overstrom, EPSCoR Liaison

Rhode Island Science and Technology Advisory Council (STAC) Collaborative Research Grants:
Data Narratives: Climate Change in Narragansett Bay as a Case Study for Engaging Communication of Scientific Information
This team’s efforts will focus on gaps in data collection and its dissemination to scientists, decision makers and the public. Bringing together deep local expertise in the natural and social sciences as well as the arts, this project hopes to improve communication and understanding of localized effects of climate change by developing interactive, highly engaging data narratives. Their goal with this $125,000 award is to develop the proof of principal necessary to demonstrate RI’s national leadership in this area.

RISD Lead:
Neal Overstrom, Nature Lab

Susanne Menden-Deuer, University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography
Sunshine Menezes, Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Science

Resilience to Climate Change: Testing Sculptural Forms for Coastal Habitat Restoration
Bringing together artists, biologists and conservationists, this $135,000 project will develop sculptural forms for a future coastal habitat restoration project at an urban site in RI. In addition to providing a platform for direct engagement of the public into research on the impact of climate change on coastal ecosystems, this project also hopes to lead to commercial investment on the development of new materials and sculptural forms for coastal habitat restoration and shore protection from the impacts of climate change.

RISD Leads:
Scheri Fultineer, Landscape Architecture
Edythe Wright, Sculpture

Marta Gomez-Chiarri, University of Rhode Island
Breea Govenar, Rhode Island College
Dale Leavitt, Roger Williams University
Pam Rubinoff, Rhode Island Coastal Resources Center/Rhode Island Sea Grant
Steven Brown, The Nature Conservancy

Project Open Door
Project Open Door (POD) is a pioneering program that attracts teens with a passion for art and attending public high schools and charter schools from Rhode Island’s urban core cities of Central Falls, Pawtucket, Woonsocket, and envelops them with RISD resources and intensive mentoring throughout their high school years. Running over ten years it has served over 500 students. Project Open Door has a dual mission: (1) to increase access to high quality arts learning and careers in art and design for underserved Rhode Island teens, and (2) to provide a community education laboratory for RISD students, alumni, faculty, and staff.

Project Open Door has been generously funded throughout the past decade by the Angell Foundation, the Surdna Foundation, the Amgen Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, the Hasbro Community Relations Foundation, Rhode Island Campus Impact, the Amica Foundation, the Frank B. Hazard Trust, the Jewish Foundation Trust, the Marie Keese LeLash Foundation and the Rhode Island Foundation.

RISD Lead:
Paul Sproll, Teaching+Learning in Art+ Design

Solar Decathalon
The Solar Decathlon Europe is an international competition that challenges twenty collegiate teams to design and build sustainable homes powered exclusively by solar energy. The 2014 SDE tool place in Versailles, France and hosted teams from sixteen countries and four continents. Ten categories including innovation, sustainability, and architecture were used to evaluate each house during the competition.

RISD is part of a collaborative project called Techstyle Haus that includes students from Brown University and the University of Applied Sciences Erfurt, Germany (FHE). Techstyle Haus is unique, solar-powered house, directed by faculty and designed and built by the students, for the Solar Decathlon Europe competition. By synthesizing a high-design, low-cost concept, their goal was to introduce the foundation for an innovative sustainable community to Versailles in 2014.

RISD Lead:
Jonathan Knowles, Architecture

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