2020 Scialog Collaborative Innovation Award

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Research team of Professor Chong Liu and UCLA postdoc alum Professor Nanette Boyle (CO School of Mines) receives $55K 2020 Scialog Collaborative Innovation Award.

Liu and Boyle received the award for their project titled “Solar-Augmented Direct Air Capture of Methane Using Methanotrophic Bacteria”.

An assistant professor of inorganic chemistry since 2017, Liu holds the Jeffrey and Helo Zink Career Development Chair. His research group studies electrochemical systems for energy, biology, and environments and aims to address some of the challenging questions in catalysis, energy conversion, CO2/N2 fixation, and microbiota. 

Boyle, who conducted her post-doctoral research at UCLA in Professor Sabeeha Merchant’s group, is an Assistant Professor of Chemical & Biological Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines.

From the Research Corporation for Science Advancement announcement:

Eight Projects Win Scialog: Negative Emissions Science Funding

Scialog 2020

Research Corporation for Science Advancement, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the Thistledown Foundation have made awards totaling $1,155,000 to eight multidisciplinary teams from the United States and Canada in the inaugural year of Scialog: Negative Emissions Science. The initiative, cosponsored by RCSA and Sloan, brought together more than 50 researchers from a variety of disciplines to propose cutting-edge research in the design of novel approaches for removing and utilizing or sequestering greenhouse gases.

“Solutions to the global climate crisis must be bold and forward-looking but grounded in science,” said RCSA President & CEO Daniel Linzer. “In funding creative, high-risk ideas that emerge from the Scialog process, some ideas that may seem like flights of fancy can turn into reality.”

The following teams have received 2020 Scialog Collaborative Innovation Awards:

Shaama Mallikarjun Sharada, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, University of Southern California †
Burcu Gurkan, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Case Western Reserve University †
Xiao Su, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign †
Electrifying Humidity-Swing Adsorption for DAC by Modulation of Redox-Polymer Hydration

William Bowman, Materials Science and Engineering, University of California, Irvine †
Eva Nichols, Chemistry, University of British Columbia †
Robert Coridan, Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Arkansas †
Using Electrochemistry to Improve Selectivity of Plasma-Assisted CO2 Reduction

Kathryn Knowles, Chemistry, University of Rochester *
Carlos Morales-Guio, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles *
Robert Coridan, Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Arkansas *
Integrated Low-Temperature Electrified Process for CO2 Direct Air Capture and Transformation to Solid Carbon

Rafael Santos, School of Engineering, University of Guelph ††
Pratik Dholabhai, Physics and Astronomy, Rochester Institute of Technology *
Andrea Hicks, Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Wisconsin – Madison *
Investigation of the Carbonation Dynamics of Synthetic Silicates: Guiding the Development of Net-Negative Production Process and Deployment in Enhanced Rock Weathering

Nanette Boyle, Chemical & Biological Engineering, Colorado School of Mines *
Shu Hu, Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Yale University ††
Bricks from The Ocean: Hybrid Microbial-Electrochemical Mineralization of CO2

Nanette Boyle, Chemical & Biological Engineering, Colorado School of Mines *
Chong Liu, Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, Los Angeles *
Solar-Augmented Direct Air Capture of Methane Using Methanotrophic Bacteria

Greeshma Gadikota, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University ††
Venkat Viswanathan, Mechanical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University ††
Envisioning a Low Carbon Built Environment through Innovative Electrochemical and Chemical Processing of Construction Materials and Enhanced Circular Reuse

Wilson Smith, Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Colorado Boulder *
David Kwabi, Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan *
Robert Gilliard, Department of Chemistry, University of Virginia *
Electrochemically Driven Reactive Capture of CO2 from Air Using Azolium-Carboxylates

Each of the 21 individual awards is $55,000. Sloan funding indicated by * totals $605,000. RCSA funding indicated by † totals $330,000, and Thistledown funding indicated by †† totals $220,000.

Scialog is short for “science + dialog.” Each multi-year initiative engages a diverse cohort of exemplary early-career scientists from multiple disciplines and institutions across the U.S. and Canada to identify challenges and opportunities in an area of global significance, and to propose high-impact collaborative research.

The inaugural meeting of Negative Emissions Science initiative was held virtually November 5-6, 2020.

Fifty-nine Fellows – from chemistry, engineering, materials science, physics, and related disciplines – were guided by a group of nine Facilitators in generating ideas to advance fundamental science in the design of novel approaches for removing and utilizing or sequestering greenhouse gases, and for making those technologies globally scalable. The full list of Fellows and Facilitators, who are leading scientists in negative emissions research, can be found in the NES 2020 conference booklet.


Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, penny@chem.ucla.edu.