University of Iowa researchers receive $380,000 grant from NASA

University of Iowa researchers recently received a four-year, $380,000 NASA grant through the Iowa Space Grant Consortium (ISGC) to study the link between greenhouse gas production and agricultural land.

Charles Stanier, assistant professor of chemical and biochemical engineering in the UI College of Engineering and assistant research engineer at IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering, said that the grant will enable him and his colleagues to establish a UI program linking NASA satellites to Iowa’s carbon budget, including focused studies on links to soil erosion and cropping practices. 

In addition to the project’s research focus, there is an emphasis on education and training opportunities for undergraduate students in NASA earth sciences research. 

“Increased demands on the state of Iowa for biofuels production coupled with anticipated reduction programs for greenhouse gas emissions create a challenging set of questions and choices for scientists, policymakers, farmers and businesses,” Stanier said. “The goal of the Iowa Multiscale Carbon and Nitrogen Studies (IMCANS) project is to quantify these links while building a program of national stature in the study of greenhouse gas fluxes in intense agricultural systems.”

He added that if the program is successful, it will further NASA earth science priorities and likely attract additional external funding. The project will make use of several existing observatories including the National Science Foundation-supported Clear Creek Amana Hydrologic Observatory, UI atmospheric carbon transport models, and the new tall tower observatory located about 10 miles from Iowa City.

Serving as co-director of the grant is Thanos Papanicolaou, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, associate faculty research engineer at IIHR, and researcher at the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research (CGRER). Also assisting with the research activities are Gregory Carmichael, professor of chemical and biochemical engineering and CGRER co director, and Tom Moorman of the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Soil Tilth Laboratory.

The project funding includes some $190,000 in matching funds from the UI general education fund. Also, IIHR is providing $24,625 in equipment funds.

Composed of academic members that include the UI, Iowa State University, the University of Northern Iowa and Drake University, the ISGC is a nonprofit organization sponsored by NASA with support from Iowa academic affiliates, industry and aerospace associations. The ISGC works to coordinate and improve Iowa’s future in aerospace science, design and technology and to stimulate aerospace research, education and outreach activities throughout the state.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services