CC&E Faculty Team up with Colleagues across campus to make an impact with Big Idea Research Grants

May 27, 2024

This year, the winning projects for the LSU Provost’s Big Idea Research Grants feature faculty from across the College of the Coast & Environment.

CC&E faculty are working on a variety of teams whose interdisciplinary research projects show the potential to make big impacts on Louisiana’s coast, agriculture, energy infrastructure and defense. However varied the research, though, the projects share a common theme: resilience.

Dr. Thomas DouthatFor example, the LA-SEER Center received $250,000 in Phase 3 funding from the Provost’s office. Spearheaded by Thomas Douthat of the Department of Environmental Sciences, or DES, and Carol Friedland, director of LaHouse Research and Education Center and an associate professor of biological and agricultural engineering, the LA-SEER Center aims to improve risk management and build resilience in Louisiana communities. 

Many areas of the state are currently struggling to manage the fall-out from an increasing number of natural disasters, and the LA-SEER Center will create integrative models and decision-making tools, and team up with local communities to utilize the tools to create actionable strategies in high-need areas, such as coastal restoration and insurance. 

The LA-SEER Center also features an interdisciplinary team of faculty from departments across campus, as well as CC&E faculty, including Z. “George” Xue of Oceanography & Coastal Sciences, or DOCS, and DES Professors Supratik Mukhopadhyay and Nina Lam.

Dr. Paul MillerPaul Miller, an Assistant Professor in Oceanography & Coastal Sciences, will be working on two different Phase 2 - funded projects: a project looking to advance wind energy on the coast, led by Associate Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering Chao Sun, and including fellow DOCS faculty Junhong Liang; and a project headed by Engineering’s Amin Kargarian aimed at developed an “interconnected system of systems view” of critical infrastructure under different weather conditions.

“These projects both aim to develop a more prepared and resilient Louisiana of the future. While one project seeks to advance the State's ability to weather future storms, the other will help improve the design criteria for offshore wind turbines in the Gulf of Mexico. Both of these efforts highlight the critical role that LSU's growing coastal meteorology program plays in keeping Louisiana one step ahead of the next storm,” said Miller.

DOCS faculty members Matthew Hiatt, Giulio Mariotti and Tracy Quirk are working on a Phase 1 - funded project led by Civil and Environmental Engineering Assistant Professor Aaron Bivens. The project seeks to establish a wetland observatory for the Mississippi River Delta Plain and Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion.