iSEE Helps U of I Researchers Attract $20.5M in External Funding this Fall!

The Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE) has helped facilitate funding to enable geospatial data-driven scientific discovery at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and the resulting research will lead to better understanding of the risks and impacts of climate change and disasters.

The $15 million Institute for Geospatial Understanding through an Integrative Discovery Environment (I-GUIDE) will receive the funding over five years as part of the National Science Foundation’s Harnessing the Data Revolution, which establishes five institutes across the United States to explore questions at the frontiers of science and engineering.


“The goal of I-GUIDE is to revolutionize theories, concepts, methods, and tools focused on data-intensive geospatial understanding for driving innovative cyberGIS and cyberinfrastructure capabilities to address the most pressing resilience and sustainability challenges of our world, such as biodiversity, food security, and water security,” said Shaowen Wang, Head of the Department of Geography and Geographic Information Science and Founding Director of the CyberGIS Center for Advanced Digital and Spatial Studies (CyberGIS Center), who will lead the institute.

Collaborating scientists and institutions from around the country that are part of I-GUIDE will work with the CyberGIS Center in partnership with iSEE and the U of I System’s Discovery Partners Institute.

I-GUIDE aims to drive transformative advances across many fields from computer, data, and information sciences to atmospheric sciences, ecology, economics, environmental science and engineering, human-environment and geographical sciences, hydrology and water sciences, industrial engineering, sociology, and statistics. The new institute will bring together about 40 researchers from U of I, Columbia University, Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, Inc., Florida International University, Michigan State University, Open Geospatial Consortium, Purdue University, University Consortium for Geographic Information Science, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Utah State University, and a variety of other partners.

Said Wang: “I-GUIDE nurtures a diverse and inclusive geospatial discovery community across many disciplines by bridging disciplinary digital data divides with broader impacts amplified through a well-trained and diverse workforce and proactive engagement of minority and underrepresented groups.“

I-GUIDE fits within three of iSEE’s research thrusts: Climate Solutions, Water & Land Stewardship, and Sustainable Infrastructure. Read more about iSEE-affiliated centers >>>

Read the full news release announcing I-GUIDE by David Evenson, Lead Editorial Specialist, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences >>>


Other iSEE funding news from Fall 2021

  • $2.1M in additional five-year funding from the Leverhulme Centre for Climate Change Mitigation for U of I researchers, led by Evan DeLucia (Emeritus Professor of Plant Biology), Carl Bernacchi (U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service), and new co-PI Lisa Ainsworth (USDA ARS) to extend the campus’s enhanced weathering experiments using basalt rock on farm fields.
  • A $1M, two-year grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to bolster an iSEE 2020 seed-funded project to turn ash into energy. The Rapid AI-based Dissection of Ashes using Raman and XRF Spectroscopy (RADAR-X) Project, led by Civil & Environmental Engineering (CEE) Assistant Professor Nishant Garg, will develop rapid, real-time analysis of the ashes — then explore numerous composition-dependent end uses.
  • One of iSEE’s original 2018 Campus as a Living Laboratory projects received nearly $1M from DOE and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Led by Agricultural & Biological Engineering Professor Yuanhui Zhang, the Environment-Enhancing Food, Energy, and Water Systems project is testing a livestock waste processing system that can deliver renewable energy as well as clean water and some bonus organic ag fertilizers.
  • Another 2020 iSEE seed-funded project led by Blue Waters and Natural Resources & Environmental Sciences (NRES) Associate Professor Kaiyu Guan to monitor crop nitrogen status was granted $1M from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR).
  • A $518,000 subaward for NRES Professor Jeffrey Brawn and CEE Associate Professor Jeremy Guest from the U.S. Geological Survey for the University of Minnesota-led Midwest Climate Adaptation Science Center (CASC) consortium. The eight partner institutions will advance scientific research and education in response to climate change impacts in the Midwest.