NSF Awards EPSCoR Track-1 to Battle Alaska Climate Change

The U.S. National Science Foundation has awarded Alaska with $20 million through the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) program, which is designed to build research and development capacity, competitiveness and education in U.S. states and territories that have not received the levels of investment seen in other parts of the country.   

The five-year Research Infrastructure Improvement Track-1 award will help Alaska assess the impact of climate change on local communities, develop methods to respond to challenges and create programs to educate future generations of researchers. 

"Science, technology, and innovation-based solutions for mitigation, adaptation, and resilience to climate events are increasingly important to our nation's communities," said NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan. "This important EPSCoR award will help build resiliency to climate risks unique to Alaska, educate their citizens, protect infrastructure and safeguard the state's economic future." 

In Alaska, climate-driven changes are having major effects, including widespread glacial recession, thawing permafrost and changes in coastal watersheds. The Interface of Change project will research critical marine resources and how climate-driven changes will impact the economy, food security and the subsistence way of life of Alaska Natives.

Researchers from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, working with the University of Alaska Anchorage and the University of Alaska Southeast, will conduct community-engaged research and build human capacity in the region through partnerships with diverse groups, including women, Indigenous peoples, farmers, and rural community members. This research will enable Gulf of Alaska communities to continue to rely on wild-harvested and farmed marine species in the face of growing environmental shifts. Remote sensing, modeling, environmental data, field surveys and lab and field experiments will help researchers understand and quantify changes to the marine environment and build capacity in the communities to co-produce ideas and solutions that will help them respond and adapt. 

To learn more about the ESPCoR program, visit nsf.gov.  

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