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Rabideau named first Research and Economic Development Leadership Fellow


Published February 6, 2014

Alan Rabideau, an environmental engineering professor with a track record of interdisciplinary research, will serve as the first Research and Economic Development Leadership Fellow. Photo: Douglas Levere

Alan Rabideau, a UB environmental engineering professor with a track record of interdisciplinary research, will serve as the university’s first Research and Economic Development Leadership Fellow, appointed by Alexander N. Cartwright, vice president for research and economic development.

Under the fellowship, Rabideau will focus on preparing RENEW to tackle some of the most pressing problems associated with energy, the environment and water.

“As a premier public research university, UB has a mission and fundamental responsibility to address regional and global environmental challenges through enduring scholarship and intellectual innovation,” Rabideau said. “RENEW is the ideal vehicle to achieve those goals and, ultimately, promote a more sustainable society.”

Rabideau was chosen for the fellowship because of his educational background, research pursuits and ability to work across disciplines. He holds a PhD in environmental science and engineering from the School of Public Health at the University at North Carolina-Chapel Hill; he is scheduled to earn a master’s degree in philosophy in May from UB.

His research has been supported by more than $10 million in grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other organizations.  He has worked on community projects with both industry and citizen groups, and recently served on a National Research Council panel that evaluated alternatives for addressing difficult-to-remediate contamination at inactive waste sites.

Rabideau established UB’s Ecosystem Restoration through Interdisciplinary Exchange (ERIE) program, which conducts research and provides educational initiatives that advance science, engineering and policy of restoring ecosystems, particularly in the lower Great Lakes and Western New York. Last year, a research team he leads received a $796,000 NSF grant to consider new approaches to managing hazardous waste. The team includes a sociologist, oral historian and philosopher.

Under the fellowship, Rabideau will perform the following duties, which will lay the groundwork for RENEW while a search for a director is underway:

  • Assess UB’s current research strengths. More than 100 faculty members in 34 departments currently are engaged in sustainability research.
  • Coordinate faculty involvement in the RENEW Institute.
  • Develop collaborative activities, such as workshops and bringing distinguished speakers to campus.
  • Lead an internal grant competition. These “seed” grants will help researchers obtain funding for larger projects.
  • Coordinate student involvement in RENEW.
  • Coordinate efforts to target federal funding opportunities for RENEW researchers.