SLS Fellows Programs

Serve-Learn-Sustain Fellows Programs

SLS Fellows Programs are interdisciplinary learning communities bringing together faculty and staff from all six GT colleges to develop new ideas for interdisciplinary and engaged research and teaching. Approximately 30 fellows meet regularly over the course of one semester, with community, industry, and government partners, to examine key ideas related to the program topic and to the SLS theme, “creating sustainable communities.” SLS Fellows Programs help participants push their research and teaching in new ways while also informing strategic direction for the Center for Serve-Learn-Sustain. 

 


SEI EPICenter Winter 2017 Request for Proposals

Proposals Due: November 30, 2017
Award Decisions Expected: January 5, 2018

 

SLS ADD-ON FOR SLS FEWS, SMART CITIES, AND ENERGY SYSTEMS FELLOWS:

Additional funds from SLS ranging from $3-5K may be available for your project if it is selected by SEI, provided the goals of your proposal:

  • Align with the SLS sustainable communities framework
  • Build on lessons learned through the SLS Fellows Program
  • Have a specific educational outcome (class revision/new class, class project, etc.)
  • Plan to engage external stakeholders (guest speakers, community visits, joint projects, etc.)

In your application to SEI, include a short section titled SLS and make sure to clearly address the four criteria listed above.  No additional applications need to be submitted to SLS.  SLS will collaborate with SEI to review relevant proposals.


Fall 2017 Fellows Program: Energy Systems for Sustainable Communities

 
SLS ESSC Fellows Program Faculty Co-Directors:  

The Fall 2017 SLS ESSC Fellows Program will explore how communities interact with energy systems and how diverse stakeholders--from academic, business, community, nonprofit, and government sectors--can collaborate to create energy systems that contribute to creating sustainable communities in which people and nature flourish.  An initial definition of an “energy system”  is a system that encompasses elements of  the supply chain to produce energy in a usable form from natural or mineral resources, and to transport, distribute, and utilize that energy.  Thus an electricity system might include the solar panels to produce the energy, the transmission and distribution system at a grid or microgrid level, and the final end use profile. It could also be expanded to include the production supply chain of the solar panels and their recycling at the end of useful life if these activities intersected in a meaningful way with the community. Other energy systems include liquid transportation fuels, district heating, industrial combined heat and power, for example. 

We will use the Southeast as a case study for developing frameworks and approaches that can be applied in other regions. The Southeast has both rapid urban development and rural communities, each with sustainable community assets and challenges. Forestry is an industry that could provide significant energy resources and economic development and has a strong presence in the Southeast and agriculture is one of its major export industries. Utility scale solar power is also being developed in south Georgia and could provide a model for other regions. 

The program will explore questions such as: 

  • How do energy options such as greater use of biomass and utility solar power impact different communities? 
  • How do different energy options improve the resiliency and viability of small communities? 
  • How would changes in grid architecture, such as microgrids, impact communities?  
  • How does climate change alter the energy supply and demand for regions and specifically for the South East? 
  • How do energy systems interact with other key infrastructure systems, particularly food and water systems closely intertwined with energy? 
  • What roles can communities play in the development and deployment of new energy systems? 
  • How do energy policies incentivize or limit community engagement? 
  • How can new developments in energy sources and systems improve opportunities for disadvantaged communities and improve equity, particularly in Georgia, where Atlanta is consistently ranked one of the most inequitable cities in the country? 

One goal of the program is to help participants develop ideas that can be part of the Strategic Energy Institute's new Energy Policy and Innovation Center. Another goal is to seed efforts for proposals to NSF CAREER and the NSF FEWS initiative. 


Spring 2017 Fellows Program: Smart Cities, Connected Communities

 
SLS Smart Cities & Connected Communities Fellows Program Faculty Co-Directors:

The Spring 2017 SLS Smart Cities, Connected Communities Fellows Program will explore smart cities as an impetus for creating more connected communities. This program is aligned with the NSF’s Smart Cities Initiatives and will help participants begin to develop new ideas for differentiating themselves in NSF CAREER and other proposals. Together with each other and community, municipal, and industry partners, Fellows will explore questions such as:

  • How does framing smart cities as a vehicle for connecting communities open up new possibilities for interdisciplinary collaboration at Tech that combines social and technological expertise and approaches?
  • How can big data and systems thinking support local efforts for sustainable and equitable communities?
  • How are communities already smart? What services, infrastructure, and technologies will be required to meet new challenges?
  • What are limits of technology in addressing issues in our cities? With so much focus on technology, what happens to problems that need to be addressed in other ways?
  • How can we better facilitate civic engagement in smart cities through practices such as participatory research or citizen science? How can industry partners support this engagement?

Video Link: Smart Cities Panel: Issues of Participation, Access, & Equity


Fall 2016 SLS Fellows Program: Food, Energy, Water Systems for Sustainable Communities

 
SLS FEWS Fellows Program Faculty Co-Directors:

The Fall 2016 SLS FEWS Fellows will explore sustainable community-building through the integrated lens of food, energy, and water systems, touching on issues such as sociotechnical systems, civic engagement, and safety and security. The FEWS program is aligned with NSF’s INFEWS program (Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy, and Water Systems; now called FEW) and will help participants begin to develop new ideas for differentiating themselves in NSF CAREER and other proposals.  

The primary question driving the program will be: How can Georgia Tech develop research, teaching, and engagement initiatives that leverage our capacities as researchers and educators to address pressing community issues concerning sustainable and equitable approaches to food, energy, and water? Other types of questions that may be considered include:

  • How does framing FEWS as a sociotechnical system open up new possibilities for interdisciplinary collaboration at Tech?
  • How can big data and systems thinking enhance our understanding of critical linkages between food, energy, and water and how these linkages can support sustainable and equitable communities?
  • How are communities already innovating around FEWS? What services, infrastructure, and technologies will be required to meet new challenges?
  • How can we better facilitate civic engagement in FEWS through practices such as participatory research or citizen science? How can industry partners support this engagement?