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Research and Innovation

Industry Partnership to Assess Climate Change Risks

A view of the NC State belltower during sunset - Industry Partnership to Assess Climate Change Risks - College of Natural Resources News NC State University

The Center for Geospatial Analytics at NC State University announced today that consulting and engineering firm Tetra Tech, Inc. has selected the Center to support a five-year, $100 million contract awarded to the company by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Research and Development (ORD). The partnership will assess the impacts of global climate change on ecosystems and human health and include modeling risks from future fire, sea level rise, flooding, urbanization and habitat loss. The Center is the only academic partner on the contract and one of only two geospatial partners.

“Geospatial analytics plays an important role in addressing so many pressing challenges,” said Ross Meentemeyer, NC State’s Goodnight Distinguished Professor of Geospatial Analytics and director of the Center. “What I’d really love to see is for this partnership to support building the most advanced of its kind forecasting platform for land change. Iteratively forecasting change is important to have timely predictions with less uncertainty. We want our research agenda to better quantify and partition the uncertainty of predictions across time and space, so we can better communicate with planners and decision-makers.” Building such a forecasting platform, he said, will require the involvement of a diversity of Center personnel. “We need remote sensors, modelers, software engineers, scholars of engagement and participatory approaches to involve stakeholders and decision-makers.”

“This partnership effectively creates an ecosystem that brings together government, industry and academia in support of actionable science,” said research scholar Georgina Sanchez, who will coordinate the Center’s work with Tetra Tech. “It’s a rare opportunity, and I am confident Center faculty and staff will be excited to get involved.”

“Tetra Tech has built a multi-decade partnership with EPA’s Office of Research and Development based on sound science, creative problem solving and mutual interest in solving pressing environmental challenges. We are excited for the Center to be joining this team, as it will create new opportunities for EPA to utilize their innovative work,” said Brian Pickard, Tetra Tech’s geospatial data scientist.