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News Release 96-040

NSF Awards $16.8 Million to Study Human Dimensions of Global Change

August 6, 1996

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

What are the results--both good and bad--when humans and their environment interact?

Six research centers and teams of scientists, assisted by $17.8 million from the National Science Foundation (NSF), will study such complex interactions and seek some useful answers.

"Population growth, environmental changes, natural resources, public health, technological advances, social organizations, and political and economic shifts are among critical factors," says Cheryl Eavey, who coordinates NSF's Human Dimensions of Global Change research program. "By combining research in the natural and the social sciences, we hope to discover ways to better predict the impact of changes on populations and their environment."

The six new NSF awards are:

  • $6.3 million over five years to Indiana University to establish a Center for the Study of Institutions, Population and Environmental Change. The focus is a long-term study of how institutions and humans at the household and community level affect deforestation and replacement. Under the direction of anthropologist Emilio F. Moran and political scientist Elinor Ostrom, studies will employ satellite and aerial photo data, data bases, surveys and interviews. Media contact: Jeff Austin (812) 855-3911

  • $5.8 million over five years to Carnegie Mellon University to support its Center for Integrated Study of the Human Dimensions of Global Change. Engineers M. Granger Morgan and Hadi Dowlatabadi will coordinate activities of more than 30 researchers from 14 institutions in seven nations. The center will provide a framework for integrated analysis, foster educational services for citizen groups and schools, promote worldwide discourse on global change issues among researchers and the public, encourage collaboration between social and natural scientists, and improve data analysis. Media contact: Debra Jacob (412) 268-8495)

  • $1.9 million over five years to Harvard University to support studies of societal responses to large, long-term global environmental change. Under the leadership of the University Committee on the Environment, the project will involve scholars from Carnegie Mellon, Cornell and Duke universities and from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. They will examine how assessments of global change interact with policy-making, politics and negotiations, and how to improve the process. Media contact: Steve Singer (617) 495-1115

  • $1.6 million over five years to Pennsylvania State University to support its Methods for Integrated Regional Assessment Project under the direction of geographer C. Gregory Knight in the Earth System Science Center. In collaboration with researchers at the University of Arizona, the project will develop methods to assess regional consequences of global change. Media contact: Andrea Elyse Messer (814) 865-9481

  • $999,600 over five years to the University of Arizona, for an economics study of water allocation. Economist Vernon L. Smith will direct research on environmental change and adaptive "smart" markets, especially in arid lands. He will initially apply his trade model in California. Media contact: Julieta Gonzalez (520) 626-4336)

  • $985,000 over five years to the National Bureau of Economic Research, to work with the Yale Center for Global Change and Austria's International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis, to organize conferences and workshops designed to encourage domestic and international cooperative research on human dimensions of global change. Economist William D. Nordhaus will oversee the development of the project. Media contact: Gila Reinstein (203) 432-1325


Media Contacts
George Chartier, NSF, (703) 292-8070, email:

Program Contacts
Cheryl L. Eavey, NSF, (703) 292-7269, email:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2018, its budget is $7.8 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 50,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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