Announcing the 2022 President’s Global Innovation Fund Winners

Nine faculty from across Columbia University awarded grants for unique interdisciplinary research projects addressing global issues

August 11, 2022

The Office of the President, the Office of the Provost, and the Columbia Global Centers announce the nine recipients of the President’s Global Innovation Fund awards for 2022. With this support, faculty from across the university will conduct scholarly projects leveraging five Columbia University’s network of nine Global Centers, exploring a wide range of issues that advance our understanding in Climate and Sustainability, Health and Medicine, and Social Justice and Equity.

Awardees include a political science professor who will be studying the impact of climate change on international security, and an Earth Institute researcher who is creating a network of university students to advocate for their universities to create a required multidisciplinary course in global citizenship. Another research scientist at Columbia Engineering is developing a tool to test water desalination processes that bring the world closer to using solar energy to make ocean water drinkable.

Launched in March 2013 by Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger, the President’s Global Innovation Fund is designed to provide support for faculty who would like to use the resources or facilities of one or more of the University’s Global Centers for teaching or research activities. The Columbia Global Centers are a network of regional hubs intended to facilitate collaborative international engagement to enhance research and learning.

The nine projects selected were chosen by a review committee of senior faculty from across the university. Many are highly collaborative, with faculty members working across University departments and schools, and partnering with other academic institutions, non-governmental organizations, and research consortia. Information on the program and the previous rounds of funded projects can be found here.

These awards follow seven previous rounds of grants from the President’s Global Innovation Fund that have supported more than 100 projects. Collectively, these projects play an essential role in realizing the potential of the Columbia Global Centers to create new opportunities for faculty and students, and in defining in tangible ways what it means for Columbia to explore new frontiers of knowledge. The full list of funded projects can be found below.

2022 Winners (see a full listing with more information here):

Elaine Abrams
Professor of Pediatrics and Epidemiology
Mailman School of Public Health
Project: "Pandemic Fallout: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children and families in Kampala, Uganda"
Global Center: Nairobi

Yanis Ben Amor
Assistant Professor of Global Health
Earth Institute
Project: "Youth-led advocacy initiative for global citizenship, responsibility, and cooperation"
Global Centers: Istanbul and Tunis

James Davis
Lamont Research Professor, Seismology, Geology and Tectonophysics
Climate School
Project: "Collaborative studies of the causes and impacts of sea-level change in the Marmara Sea region"
Global Center: Istanbul

Tufa Dinku
Senior Research Scientist
International Research Institute for Climate and Society
Project: "Linking Education on Adaptation and Resilience with National Systems in Ethiopia (Ethiopia-LEARNS)"
Global Center: Nairobi

V. Page Fortna
Harold Brown Professor of US Foreign and Security Policy
Political Science Department
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Project: "Climate Change and Security: Regional Perspectives on a Global Issue"
Global Centers: Santiago and Istanbul

Vasilis Fthenakis
Senior Research Scientist and Adjunct Professor
School of Engineering and Applied Science
Project: "Solar Energy Desalination Analysis Tool-Chile (SEDAT-Chile)"
Global Centers: Santiago, Tunis and Amman

Joaquim Goes
Lamont Research Professor, Biology and Paleo Environment
Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory
Project: "Development of a Prototype Kenya Ocean Monitoring and Decision Support System for Sustainable Coastal Resource Management under Climate Change"
Global Center: Nairobi

Upmanu Lall
Alan and Carol Silberstein Professor of Earth and Environmental Engineering
School of Engineering and Applied Science
Project: "Collaborative development of machine learning tools for spatio-temporal prediction of dry spell distributions to predict water deficit risk and its impacts across Chile using climate models and historical information"
Global Center: Santiago

Yoanna Pumpalova
Assistant Professor
Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons
Columbia University Irving Medical Center
Project: "Early Colorectal Cancer Diagnosis and Global Oncology Capacity Building in South Africa"
Global Center: Nairobi