RENO – Researchers from University of Nevada Reno and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) will share expertise in joint research initiatives through a new partnership announced this week. Their efforts will focus on science and technology challenges that are significant in the American West.
PNNL is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory based in Richland, Washington, and serving as a center for scientific discovery and technological innovation.
An agreement is in place to guide UNR faculty and PNNL scientists in how the institutions will work together. Mridul Gautam, UNR vice president for research and innovation, said such partnerships are the future of research.
“This is what the future of research looks like: building partnerships and addressing complex challenges through an approach that brings together researchers from various disciplines. This multidisciplinary approach spurs new ideas and solutions,” said Gautam. “Our country’s national laboratories are tackling critical scientific challenges. Through partnerships between national labs and research universities, such as the PNNL and UNR partnership, we leverage the impressive expertise, technologies and instruments of both institutions.”
The first collaborative effort between the two organizations will be a U.S. Forest Service-funded deep-dive into water modeling data to see how forest management and restoration programs impact the watershed and economy. The project is connected with the Tahoe-Central Sierra Initiative, a large-scale effort to improve the health and resilience of the Sierra Nevada that includes the Truckee River Basin.
“Climate change is being felt across the American West, with increased frequency and severity of wildfires, drought and extreme weather events. Our research to understand how land management practices coupled with environmental change affect the availability of resources such as water will be key in preparing our region for future climate impacts,” said Malin Young, PNNL Associate Laboratory Director, Earth and Biological Sciences.
Future research areas include projects on climate change, sustainable energy, Earth and biological sciences and national security.
“Ultimately this is about national competitiveness, sustainability and societal benefit,” said Gautam. “We envision this partnership growing beyond the initial areas identified.”