Iowa State University
INDEX
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
E-Mail & Phones |
  • Science and Society shifts focus to bioeconomy

    The bioeconomy has become a major focus of both the federal government and Iowa State University.

    The Institute of Science and Society in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is jumping on the bandwagon.

    "In light of the literal ‘explosion' of the bioeconomy in Iowa as well as the nation, the university's growing focus on bioeconomy issues, and the positive and negative consequences of bioeconomy expansion for the environment, we are expanding the current focus of the Institute," said John Miranowski, professor of economics and Science and Society director.

    "Ultimately the bioeconomy is where the action is. And we believe that this expanded focus will facilitate the integration of social sciences research and education with what is happening in LAS departments, centers and colleges, and the university's mission."

    Science and Society's mission is to highlight the role of the social sciences in research and education and foster interdisciplinary approaches in both LAS and the university. Miranowski says he hopes to raise the visibility of the social sciences through interdisciplinary research and education tied to the environmental and socioeconomic impacts of an expanding bioeconomy.

    In order to accomplish this, the Institute of Science and Society has several activities planned over the next three years including:

    • Workshops and seminars that highlight interdisciplinary research involving the social sciences;
    • Jointly sponsor forums on implications of bioeconomy expansion;
    • Collaborate and cooperate with other institutes and centers in sciences, engineering, agriculture and humanities;
    • Seed grants for developing interdisciplinary seminars and research proposals;
    • Better position faculty for external funding.

    "I believe the Institute of Science and Society is positioned extremely well to look at the bioeconomy," Miranowski says. "Changing our focus gives us the perfect vehicle to do that."

    Miranowski says the Institute will focus not only on the benefits of the bioeconomy but the cost of bioeconomy expansion to society in terms of water quality, air quality, climate change and community development.

    "If we as a nation expand ethanol and other biofuels to high enough levels, there will be serious environmental and societal issues we will have to face," he said.

    Interested LAS faculty that would like to be faculty affiliates in the refocused Science and Society should contact Miranowski.

    Groups are already forming including a group that will look at community impacts of the bioeconomy in areas of community welfare, jobs and reduction of poverty. Another group is looking at various communications aspects and effects of the bioeconomy.

    "We've had a very positive response to Science and Society's new direction," Miranowski said. "Faculty see this as a real opportunity to focus on a critical issue facing society through interdisciplinary research."

John Miranowski
John Miranowski

Around LAS

March 26 to April 8, 2007