UCLA’s Sustainable LA Grand Challenge

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Professor Richard Kaner is part of a research team to be awarded a competitive research grant as part of UCLA’s Sustainable LA Grand Challenge.

Using membranes to pull nutrients out of wastewater in treatment plants could be the wave of the future, but the membranes can get clogged. The research team has developed a new coating system to make the membranes last longer and produce more freshwater. 

Profs. Eric Hoek and Shaily Mahendra (Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science) are the other members of the research team. 

From UCLA Newsroom (By Alison Hewitt, UCLA)

$1.2 million awarded by UCLA to help Los Angeles County thrive despite climate change

UCLA’s Sustainable LA Grand Challenge announced the awarding of its first competitive research grants today, providing $1.2 million to 11 projects, which range from developing lightweight solar panels that double as batteries to exploring how to unite the region’s 215 water systems to minimize imported water.

These and $300,000 in other recent grants mark the first time that some of the wide range of environmental and sustainability research already conducted at UCLA will be funded directly by the challenge. The Sustainable LA Grand Challenge is a university-wide research initiative to transition the Los Angeles region to 100 percent renewable energy, 100 percent local water and enhanced ecosystem health by 2050. The project unites more than 150 faculty from 70 different departments to ensure that quality of life continues to improve even in a hotter, more populous Los Angeles.

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Studying water systems in Los Angeles County is key to devising policies that will get the county to 100 percent local water by 2050. Credit: Michael/Flickr

“This is an important step in making greater Los Angeles sustainable,” said Mark Gold, UCLA’s associate vice chancellor for environment and sustainability who oversees Sustainable LA. “UCLA has an extraordinary range of expertise, and the Grand Challenge directs that expertise toward creating the new technologies, policies and cultural shifts that will transform Los Angeles County. I’m excited that we have professors across campus working together on solving our megacity’s most intractable problems.”

The selection process for funding the 11 projects was guided in part by the research priorities identified in Sustainable LA’s new Five-Year Work Plan, a futuristic vision of Los Angeles with a detailed proposal for how the challenge will achieve its goals.

The competitive grants are possible thanks to the Anthony and Jeanne Pritzker Family Foundation, which is providing funding for the Grand Challenge, including research that will implement the Sustainable LA Work Plan. Their generous $5 million gift will support at least two more rounds of similar grants in 2017 and 2018. 

Read full UCLA Newsroom article.