In 2020, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) launched the Climate Grand Challenges to mobilise the Institute’s entire research community to tackle the most difficult unsolved climate problems in emissions reduction, climate adaptation and resilience, risk forecasting, carbon removal, and understanding the human impacts of climate change.
The MIT Climate Grand Challenge website explains:
“The climate crisis, and the efforts to respond to it, will touch the lives of almost everyone in a direct and tangible way – some more so than others. And in many parts of the world, those who are least equipped to handle their changing environment will be disproportionately impacted by it. Much can and must be achieved with existing technologies and policy approaches, but without game-changing advances in forefront innovations and multiple fields of science, engineering, and the social sciences, our collective efforts to tackle the climate challenge will not succeed.”
From nearly 100 initial proposals representing 90% of MIT departments and involving almost 400 MIT faculty, five flagship projects with the most promising concepts were selected from the two-year competition.
These projects will receive additional funding and resources from MIT and others to develop their ideas and swiftly transform them into practical solutions at scale.
Below are the five climate Grand Challenge flagship projects:
- Bringing Computation to the Climate Challenge. This project leverages advances in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data sciences to improve the accuracy of climate models and make them more useful to a variety of stakeholders — from communities to industry. The team is developing a digital twin of the Earth that harnesses more data than ever before to reduce and quantify uncertainties in climate projections
- Center for Electrification and Decarbonization of Industry. This project seeks to reinvent and electrify the processes and materials behind hard-to-decarbonise industries like steel, cement, ammonia, and ethylene production. A new innovation hub will perform targeted fundamental research and engineering with urgency, pushing the technological envelope on electricity-driven chemical transformations.
- Preparing for a new world of weather and climate extremes. This project addresses key gaps in knowledge about intensifying extreme events such as floods, hurricanes, and heatwaves, and quantifies their long-term risk in a changing climate. The team is developing a scalable climate-change adaptation toolkit to help vulnerable communities and low-carbon energy providers prepare for these extreme weather events.
- The Climate Resilience Early Warning System. The CREWSnet project seeks to reinvent climate change adaptation with a novel forecasting system that empowers underserved communities to interpret local climate risk, proactively plan for their futures incorporating resilience strategies, and minimise losses. CREWSnet will initially be demonstrated in southwestern Bangladesh, serving as a model for similarly threatened regions around the world.
- Revolutionising agriculture with low-emissions, resilient crops. This project works to revolutionise the agricultural sector with climate-resilient crops and fertilisers that can dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions from food production.
To learn more, CLICK this link ➔ MIT Climate Grand Challenge, 5 Flagship projects.