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PEGASuS Take-It-Further Grants Advance Research into Food-Water-Energy Nexus

The food-water-energy nexus will be a critical site of innovation for global sustainability over the next few decades. Challenges connected with population increase and food shortages, scarce water, and insufficient energy resources will require both focused research and smart policy solutions in cities around the globe.

Future Earth, with funding from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s Science Program, is partnering with the Belmont Forum to make available a new grant opportunity to the existing research teams and new partners involved in the Sustainable Urbanisation Global Initiative Food-Water-Energy Nexus (SUGI/NEXUS), a joint effort of the Belmont Forum, JPI Urban Europe, and the European Commission.

These new ‘Take-It-Further’ grants, part of the Program for Early-stage Grants Advancing Sustainability Science (PEGASuS), focus on enhancing and accelerating the existing Belmont-funded projects as well as fostering new cross-project collaborations and facilitate the involvement of new partners. Particular consideration was given to projects that focus on the Global South.

Nine proposals from fifteen* of the existing SUGI/Nexus Teams were received in mid-July 2020. Each proposal was reviewed by at least three anonymous reviewers and scored against the evaluation criteria given. Reviewers were selected from the Future Earth Member Portal community of experts. Four proposals were selected for funding:

Future Earth’s Take-It-Further grants cover research teams from 14 countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Germany, India, Jordan, Madagascar, South Africa, Sweden, USA, and the UK, with study locations across 12 countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, India, Jordan, Madagascar, USA, South Africa, Sweden, USA, and the UK.

The  Global Food Water Energy Nexus (GOFWEN) Project: GOFWEN is an action-research project based on further and deeper engagement with six case study cities and the public in the global south to drive knowledge sharing, learning and capacity building about FWEN innovation. PI countries: Brazil, Canada, India, South Africa, Madagascar, and the ICLEI Global Network. Study countries: Brazil, South Africa, India, Madagascar.

Building policy tools for water- and waste-based urban soil remediation: Building on the experience of three cities – Rosario in Argentina, Franschhoek in South Africa, and London in the UK, and through the promotion of ad-hoc data analysis and novel policy dialogues, this project aims to address the gap between practice and policy in the virtuous use of urban wastes for the remediation of urban soils. The outcomes will include a policy guide addressing the practical, legal, and planning obstacles to enhance understanding and uptake of soil remediation practices. PI countries: UK, Belgium, Argentina, South Africa, plus a network of 350 soil scholars from many countries. Study countries: Argentina, South Africa, UK.

NexusFootprints – Combining Indicators for Urban Food-Water-Energy Nexus Comparison: Based on earth observation satellite high-resolution imagery, population and urban land-use will be mapped using artificial intelligence in different world regions that represent archetypes of urban regions experiencing distinct FWE challenges – Amman (Jordan), Pune (India) and Vienna (Austria). The project will evaluate how the nexus-footprint approach can best be readily transferred to other cities and used as a blueprint for including additional case studies from other SUGI- NEXUS projects. Researchers’ countries: Germany, Austria, Jordan, India, USA (Stanford). Study countries: Jordan, India, Austria.

Resource Recovery in the Food-Water-Energy Nexus: Assessing Point-source Recovery of Phosphorus in the Context of the Circular Economy: Within the concept of a circular food economy, aquaponics has a high potential for phosphorus recovery using systems which simultaneously contribute to sustainable, local, urban, food production by reducing carbon footprints associated with food production, transportation, water-use, energy, and nutrient demands. This project seeks to weave an interdisciplinary response to the phosphorus challenge through innovative strategies to transform waste streams into economically viable nutrient recovery and reutilization processes within a circular bio-economy. PI and study countries: USA, Sweden, UK, Australia.

*Teams that submitted proposals: FUSE, IN-SOURCE, IFWEN, GLOCULL, WASTE FEW ULL, Urbanising in Place, CITIFOOD, The FEW-Meter, METABOLIC, CRUNCH, Creating Interfaces