2018-2019 Global Challenges Research Teams

Developing Innovative Solutions for Human-Bison Coexistence Across North America

Bison restoration, a trans-boundary conservation issue that involves a multitude of diverse stakeholders, is among the most challenging of human-wildlife co-existence issues today in North America. Bison are an iconic and ecologically important species but occupy less than 1% of their historic range. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature, along with diverse land managers, have identified bison reintroduction as a priority to ensure viable free-roaming populations, restore ecological function, and enhance cultural values. Yet, reintroduction of free-roaming bison is fraught with concerns over the transmission of disease to livestock, competition with cattle for shared forage, genetic integrity, and uncertainty about the ecological impact of bison on arid ecosystems. This GCRT will bring together a diverse group of scholars and practitioners to explore the ecological, economic, and social dimensions of this timely topic and continental-scale challenge and set an agenda for research and action applicable to the ever-increasing global problem of human-wildlife co-existence.

Fort Collins Urban Sustainability Research Network (USRN)

The Fort Collins Urban Sustainability Research Network (USRN) is developing a platform for enhancing collaboration among the diverse organizations, institutions, and communities dedicated to building a sustainable future for Fort Collins, and other cities along the Front Range. Through this platform, the GCRT will develop a systematic approach to the region’s urban research needs and develop comprehensive sustainability goals. This team aims to build capacity among diverse partners and stakeholders to create innovative and equitable place-based solutions that could influence how cities around the globe approach and fund sustainability efforts.

Next-generation Electricity Demand Response

This GCRT will generate initial results towards development of systematic methods for enabling the next-generation of electricity demand response programs, aimed at increasing free-market mechanisms in the end-user realm of the electricity grid. They will investigate new pricing techniques for retail electricity vendors---known as aggregators---that make a profit by representing aggregated electric loads on the end-user side and moving them away from the time of peak demand in the electricity grid. The uniqueness of their work is in minimizing the impact on the customer (i.e., loss of comfort) while maximizing the profit of the aggregator. The game-changing aspect of their approach is to estimate the coincident peak hour in the system (i.e., 1 hour in a month) and engage demand response through incentives, rather than impose a daily requirement on the end-user.

Scaling up CSU's Center for Science Communication: Enhancing Interdisciplinarity to Communicate about Science and Sustainability

Confronting today’s most pressing global scientific and sustainability issues, we are faced with the added burden of polarized political, media, and public spheres. To address this challenge, this GCRT will develop and demonstrate interdisciplinary opportunities for the study and practice of science communication and the role of information in decision-making among members of the CSU community. Existing groups on CSU’s campus are engaging in both informal and formal science communication activities, including a Center for Science Communication in the Department of Journalism and Media Communication, as well as projects funded through federal- and university-sponsored grants and cooperative agreements. The GCRT will collaboratively pursue the development of a more formal University-wide center for science communication-related activities.