The application period for the CGEP Faculty Grant Program for 2017-18 is now closed.  The deadline for applications was June 1, 2017. Grants are awarded to support faculty research and public policy analysis focused on topics relevant to the Center’s mission. This includes policy-relevant work on economic, geopolitical, technical, institutional and environmental issues related to the production and consumption of energy.  

About the Faculty Grant Program 

Faculty grants are awarded to support faculty research and public policy analysis focused on topics relevant to CGEP’s mission. This includes policy-relevant work on economic, geopolitical, technical, institutional and environmental issues related to the production and consumption of energy.

CGEP will award up to $50,000 for 2017-18 research grants.

The Faculty Grants Committee gives priority to research that is likely to make a substantive contribution to the relevant field. CGEP encourages collaborative interdisciplinary research proposals, as well as collaborations between early career and mid/later career investigators. Collaboration is also encouraged with CGEP scholars and affiliated faculty. Preference will be given to projects that involve SIPA faculty. The maximum award for a CGEP Faculty Research Grant is expected to be about $15,000, although the award committee may, if appropriate, make awards larger than $15,000.

The Awards Process

Grants are awarded by the Faculty Grants Committee; the committee’s members include Jason Bordoff (Professor of Professional Practice in International and Public Affairs and Director, Center on Global Energy Policy, SIPA); Steve Cohen (Professor in the Practice of Public Affairs, SIPA and Executive Director, Columbia University’s Earth Institute); Scott Barrett (Lenfest-Earth Institute Professor of Natural Resource Economics, Columbia SIPA); and Vijay Modi (Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Columbia University.  The committee may consult relevant experts as required.

Proposals are evaluated on the following criteria: intellectual merit and innovation of the proposed project, quality of project organization, and plausibility of timeline.  The award committee will give priority consideration to policy-relevant work and research likely to make a substantive contribution to the relevant field. 

Reporting and Output Requirements

Recipients of an award from the CGEP Faculty Grant Program agree to the following:

  • At 3-months - a progress report of 2 pages describing work to date and next steps.
  • At 6-months - a progress report of 2 pages describing work to date and next steps.
  • At 9 months - Delivery of final draft report text (including all charts, graphs and tables in excel), no less than 20 pages, to be reviewed, edited and produced via the Center’s publication process and released as a public product under the Center’s branding [See Appendix A for a details].
  • By 12 months – A brief output describing the findings of the research and their policy relevance. This could take the form of an op-ed, blog post, factsheet, info-graphic, etc.
  • To present their findings at a Faculty Roundtable organized by the Center.
  • Additionally, recipients are required to submit within 30 days of the conclusion of the award period copies of any other materials resulting from the project [excel files, PPT decks, fact-sheets, etc], and a financial report.

How to Apply

Applications are currently closed. The CGEP Faculty Grant 2018-2019 information will be posted in Spring 2018. 

Please direct any questions to energypolicy@columbia.edu.

2017-2018 CGEP faculty grant recipients

Dr. Alexandra Karambelas 

Project: Quantifying near-term air pollution and health outcomes over India from lowering residential and transportation combustion emissions

Residential combustion for heating and cooking and on-road transportation emissions adversely affect Indian air quality and human health. Using the configuration of the chemistry-transport GEOS-Chem model that nests down to a resolution of 0.5 degrees by 0.666 degrees (approximately 50 km by 50 km) over India and anthropogenic emissions from the integrated assessment Greenhouse Gas-Air Pollutions Interactions and Synergies (GAINS) emissions model, we determine near-term (2030) contributions to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and ozone air quality from both domestic and transportation combustion sectors under at least two possible emission pathways based off of fuel option and technology implementation, respectively. First, we consider a scenario where it is assumed that current air quality legislation is implemented (CLE). Second, we conduct simulations to examine impacts of mitigation under maximum feasible reduction (MFR) strategies separately for the residential combustion and transportation sectors. Using the air pollution concentrations estimated with the GEOS-Chem model under these scenarios, we apply exposure-response relationships following the Global Burden of Disease studies to quantify premature mortality in the form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease for PM2.5 and ozone and stroke, lung cancer, and ischemic heart disease for PM2.5. By differencing the MFR and CLE scenarios, we quantify the health outcomes attainable by reducing emissions from both of these sectors. We are thus able to identify future air quality and health impacts from anthropogenic emissions to inform the design of cost-effective and efficient pollution mitigation strategies. 

Dr. Arvind Narayanaswamy

Project: Thermoeconomic analysis of future power generation scenarios with hybridized fossil fuel and concentrated solar power plants 

One of the most important components in the effort to decarbonize the energy system is the integration of renewable energy into the power generation portfolio of the future. According to the World Energy Outlook 2016 coal, natural gas, and non-hydroelectric renewables will contribute to approximately 10.8, 8.9, and 8.0 PWh (peta watt hours or 1015 watt hours) respectively under the new policies scenario (NPS), and 2.5, 5.4, and 13.0 PWh under the 450 scenario (450S). The two policy scenarios, NPS and 450S, both of which will be discussed in brief in the main text, predict vastly different outcomes for the electricity generation portfolio by 2040. It is nowhere more apparent than in the adoption of concentrated solar power (CSP), whose contribution increases from 254 TWh (tera watt hours or 1012 watt hours) to 1118 TWh. Even with this increased adoption of CSP, it pales in comparison to win and solar PV, which account for 6.1 and 3.2 PWh respectively under 450S. The reason, of course, is that the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) of onshore wind and solar PV are much less than that of CSP in most places [US $ 100/MWh (mega-watt hours) for wind/solar PV vs > US $ 150/MWh for CSP]. In trying the predict the future of electricity generation, answers to the following questions (a subset of question the World Energy Outlook 2016 intends to answer) are crucial: (1) What fuels and technologies will be important for the future? (2) Is capital heading to where it is needed? Unless disruptive change is brought about in the field of CSP, it is likely that the adoption of this technology will remain at a level we consider to be low. Underutilization of solar energy will only make decarbonizing our future so much tougher. Along with the emphasis on renewable energy, the US, China, and India also stress the use of “cleaner” fossil fuels, including coal. 

Dr. Matthais Preindl

Project: Vehicle to Grid Everywhere

This project proposes to evaluate the technological (and policy) challenges to realize “Vehicle to Grid (V2G) Everywhere”. The V2G concept envisions that electric vehicle (EV) owners can sell grid services to electric utilities. Despite strong projected advantages for both utilities and EV owners, V2G is limited to a few pilot projects with dedicated EV charging points. This project proposes to evaluate the key technological challenges such that V2G trading can take place on regular electric plugs. The main questions are cost-effective onboard bidirectional electric chargers, communication with electric utilities, power line monitoring, and the required computational infrastructure. The findings will be published and enable funding of a demonstration project though federal funding agencies. Furthermore, the outcome will establish if large-scale V2G trading is feasible and can support both the EV deployment (through appropriate policies) and utilities.

Dr. Wolfram Schlenker

Project: A Global Database of Dams

To compile a global geospatial database of dams to enable rigorous research on the costs and benefits of dam construction. Although dams are in principle sources of clean energy, their construction has serious negative effects on ecosystems and communities. With high-resolution geospatial data and information on the timing of dam construction, in combination with detailed population and environmental data, social scientists can systematically assess these impacts to inform policy on dam building. The data can be used to explain variation in the extent and success of dam construction, assess the displacement effects of dams in nearby human settlements, and estimate the ecological and health damage that dams cause. Both the data collection itself and the social science research it allows are critical for policy-makers, allowing for greater understanding of the effects of dam building beyond isolated construction projects and country projects. We anticipate the resulting data will be of great value for journalists and policy-makers, in addition to scholars.