Ecosystem Services Program News

National Academies’ Gulf Research Program Awards $5.3 Million to Enhance Environmental Restoration Outcomes and Improve Oil Spill Risk Assessment

The Gulf Research Program (GRP) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine today announced grant awards for seven new projects totaling $5.3 million, including an award to a team of researchers led by Lydia Olander of Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. Five of the projects involve developing or testing new technologies or methods for monitoring or evaluating environmental restoration projects to improve future restoration efforts.

Duke-Led Team Receives Funding to Assess Progress on Gulf Ecosystem Restoration

A team of researchers led by Lydia Olander of Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions has received $1,335,798 to conduct research on Gulf of Mexico ecosystem restoration. The grant is funded by the Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

Christy Ihlo Bypasses a “Traditional” Career Path to Pursue her Passion in Tanzania

Christy Ihlo took a huge, but carefully calculated, risk leaving her post as a policy associate at Duke’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions to pursue her passion for international conservation with an NGO in Tanzania. She went as an unpaid six-month intern for the African People & Wildlife Fund. Now she has been hired, with a great promotion, to direct their monitoring and evaluation efforts, a growing sub-field in international conservation. Her story is about developing skills, weighing—and then taking—risks, and building a career in an unexpected way.

Global Alliance Releases New Tools to Guide Evidence-based Solutions Across Health, Development, and Environment

The Bridge Collaborative, a global alliance of 90 organizations from 23 countries, today released two new tools to assist decision-makers solving big challenges facing health, development, and the environment. The Bridge Collaborative Practitioner’s Guide on Principles and Guidance for Cross-sector Action Planning and Evidence Evaluation and the policy-focused Call to Action for Health, Environment, and Development Leaders were developed to accelerate progress toward building a shared, cross-sector evidence base that informs strategies, shapes policies, and directs funding decisions to achieve concrete solutions.

Duke Hires Former DOJ, Hill Aide to Lead Climate Program ($)

Duke University has tapped an environmental law expert with experience at the Justice Department and on Capitol Hill to lead its Climate and Energy Program. Kate Konschnik, who most recently was head of Harvard University's Environmental Law Program, will serve as director of the program, which is housed at Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.

Duke Environmental Economics Doctoral Scholars (DEEDS) Program. Photos by Sanjog Sahu and David Kaczan.

Research Program Melds Economics and Environment

For four years, the Duke Environmental Economics Doctoral Scholars (DEEDS) Program has sought to provide Ph.D. students with the opportunity to explore the intersection of policy, economics, environmental science, and management around environmental topics. DEEDS gives students a sense of what it is like to conduct an independent research project that is directly relevant to policy processes.

Survey Gauges Top Leaders Views of Environmental Policy Landscape

In spring 2017, researchers at North Carolina State University (NCSU) and Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions set out to determine what and how a broad cross-section of thought leaders at private corporations, nonprofits, government agencies, and universities think about emerging environmental trends, risks, and opportunities. Through the Emerging Environmental Issues Survey, the researchers aimed to assess both the reach and the manageability of environmental change.

Federal-University Partnerships, Renewed Funding Boost Climate Research

With five new university consortium partners and a renewed five-year funding award, North Carolina State University will continue to host the Department of the Interior's Southeast Climate Science Center, broadening its access to expertise and renewing its commitment to the science needs of the region. Duke University is among the new partners, with research led by Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions Ecosystem Services Program director Lydia Olander.

Building a Blue Economy in North Carolina

The ocean economy contributed $2.1 billion and 43,385 jobs to North Carolina’s economy in 2013, according to a new report by North Carolina Sea Grant and Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. Ocean and coastal resources played an even larger role in the state’s coastal counties, providing 6.5 percent of gross domestic product, or GDP, and supporting 13 percent of employment. And according to “North Carolina’s Ocean Economy: A First Assessment and Transitioning to a Blue Economy” report co-author Tibor Vegh, these figures are most likely low. “Our estimates represent a snapshot in time only for the sectors where we could find economic data,” Vegh, a policy analyst with the Nicholas Institute, tells CoastWatch.

Bridging Gaps: Cross-Sector Collaboration is the Future of Sustainable Business

In a blog post for Thrive, the Nicholas Institute's Lydia Olander and her co-authors emphasize how cross-sector collaboration is the future of sustainable business. The Bridge Collaborative, co-led by four key organizations—Duke University, PATH, the International Food Policy Research Institute, and The Nature Conservancy—are connecting the health, environment, and development communities to develop the evidence for results that support shared solutions to global challenges. 

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