Mark Peters and Nadya BlissArgonne Associate Laboratory Director for Energy and Global Security Mark Peters, left, signs a memorandum of understanding with Nadya Bliss, director of the Global Security Initiative at Arizona State University. The MOU will facilitate a broad portfolio of research shared between the two institutions.Photo credit: Wes AgrestaThe Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory recently signed an agreement with Arizona State University that will facilitate a broad portfolio of research shared between the two institutions.

The five-year memorandum of understanding (MOU) will establish a structure for Argonne and ASU to pursue novel research in areas including decision-making based on climate variability and uncertainty; the impacts of global population dynamics and urbanization; the challenges of renewable energy practices; and creating innovative solutions to problems in energy, education and sustainability.

Argonne and ASU have collaborated on scientific efforts ranging from investigating the structure of spider silk to developing an artificial leaf that uses solar energy to convert water into hydrogen. Argonne’s Global Security Sciences Division is working with the university and other partners on a $20 million five-year project known as the Foresight Initiative. The venture, which is led by ASU, brings together knowledge and capabilities from a variety of partners to develop an integrated computational platform that will enable decision makers to explore how climate change and future resource contention could contribute to political unrest and instability, as well as gain insights into sustainability and resilience strategies for mitigating the effects.

During the ongoing work, it became apparent that the two institutions shared a common belief in the power of interdisciplinary cooperative research to tackle the most daunting challenges facing the country.

“ASU is a world-class research institution and their approach to addressing scientific challenges aligns closely with ours, so this agreement makes perfect sense,” said Associate Laboratory Director for Energy and Global Security Mark Peters. “This idea of putting together cross-cutting teams to collaborate on challenging research really resonates at both ASU and Argonne.”

Nadya Bliss, director of the Global Security Initiative, which manages the Foresight Initiative, agreed with that assessment. She said not only will the agreement foster innovative research between Argonne and ASU, but it will also open a pipeline for talent to flow between the two institutions.

“Argonne and ASU share common goals for advancing research in key areas that will have an impact on our local and global communities,” added Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan, senior vice president of ASU's Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development. “We are delighted to continue the strong collaboration between our organizations with this new relationship, which will further our efforts to create sustainable solutions to challenges in the areas of climate adaptation, population growth and energy security.”