Global Challenges Research Teams

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Collaborative teams of faculty that build cross-campus partnerships to address the world’s most pressing regional and global sustainability issues. We provide seed funding to foster creative and innovative approaches to sustainability grand challenges and establish interdisciplinary relationships to conduct research in new areas and with expanded applicability.

Each year the School seeks proposals for new, interdisciplinary partnerships of faculty to address sustainability grand challenges through creative research and synthesis activities. Global Challenges Research Teams advance sustainability through integration of environmental, societal, and economic knowledge in a team-based, creative approach to solve real-world problems.

The School issues a request for proposals each December with a late January deadline for the following academic year. Successful proposals will bring together researchers from across disciplines at CSU; address pressing global and regional sustainability issues through new research, new approaches to existing research, or research synthesis; are highly innovative and enterprising in their approach; and are applicable to real-world sustainability challenges. Join our mailing list to be notified when the request for proposals opens.

2020-2022 Global Challenges Research Teams

Re-use Efficiency Packaging with Analytics for Customized Knowledge (REPACK)

One of the major sustainability challenges present today is the waste that accompanies packaging, usually corrugated cardboard, from the increased prevalence of online purchasing. However, since the average corrugate box contains only 50% recycled materials, half of the fiber must still be produced anew each time a package is shipped. Moreover, online ordering leads to smaller, more frequent “one off” orders which requires more packaging compared to the bulk orders that are sent to big-box, brick-and-mortar stores and then resold. Given these factors, reusing packaging materials is more efficient than recycling. This project will explore the development of a label designed to track reused packaging, investigate means to drive supply chain adoption, and explore how branding affects community participation, thus improving the sustainability of the growing e-commerce industry.

Resilient Industry Supply Chains (RISC)

Climate change amplifies the risk of extreme weather and disaster events, transforming where and how people conduct business around the world. The characteristics that make modern supply chains speedy and cost-effective (e.g. global resource networks, specialized inputs produced in specific geographic locations, and reduced inventories as part of just-in-time production strategies) render global supply chains more susceptible to disaster disruptions. Therefore, to maintain continued economic growth, U.S. industries must adapt their global supply chains to become more sustainable and resilient to disaster disruptions. This project will look at the U.S. roofing industry and develop a framework for empirically assessing its resilience. The team will collect data from regional, national, and global roofing industry supply chains and develop a working geospatial model to predict how supply chain disruptions will affect the U.S. roofing industry. The primary objective of this GCRT is to share these findings with the public via an interactive, online map and to write peer-reviewed papers for conferences and journal publication.

Measuring Carbon Footprint of Alternative Business Models in the Fashion Industry

The fashion industry is resource intensive and with a growing global demand for clothing, it is poised to have continued negative environmental impacts. Increasingly, in recognizing the need to mitigate these impacts, modern textile production systems are beginning to incorporate circular economy principles (e.g. restorative and regenerative approaches) in their business strategy. While these alternative modes of production may be sustainable, there is very little empirical research to support these claims. This GCRT aims to develop a tool to quantify the carbon footprint of at least two different alternate business models and compare them to the traditional, ‘take-make-use-dispose’ business model of the fashion industry. The team will identify and analyze existing data and tools available to measure carbon footprint. They will develop an online tool powered by real-time information to measure the carbon impact of alternative fashion business models and disseminate these project outcomes within academia and industry.

Request for Proposals

The School issues a request for proposals each December with a late January deadline for the following academic year. Successful proposals will bring together researchers from across disciplines at CSU; address pressing global and regional sustainability issues through new research, new approaches to existing research, or research synthesis; are highly innovative and enterprising in their approach; and are applicable to real-world sustainability challenges. Join our mailing list to be notified when the request for proposals opens.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Aleta Weller, Senior Research and Engagement Officer, at Aleta.Weller@colostate.edu or by calling (970) 492-4160.