COMACO Building in Zambia

ACSF is pleased to announce the latest round of Rapid Response Fund (RRF) awards. RRF awards total $200,000 so far this year 

Recent Rapid Response Fund Awards

October 17, 2013

COMACO Building in Zambia

ACSF is pleased to announce the latest round of Rapid Response Fund (RRF) awards. RRF awards total $200,000 so far this year. These small grants, awarded quarterly, provide fast support for urgent or time-sensitive projects.

Details about the RRF can be found on the RRF webpage

The following RRF grants were among those awarded thus far in 2013:

Evaluating Communication Efforts for Sustainability in Zambia: COMACO's Farm Talk 

COMACO Building in Zambia

Hand-cranked radios across rural Zambia are tuned in to "Farm Talk," a twice-weekly radio program by Community Markets for Conservation (COMACO). The program broadcasts agriculture, food security, and conservation messages to an estimated 200,000 smallholder farmers. A group led by Katherine McComas (COMM) is evaluating the effectiveness of COMACO's sustainability communication. RRF funding will send a researcher to Zambia to interview individual farmers and groups of farmers about their listening habits, current conservation knowledge, and the tangible effects of COMACO's programming on their sustainable farming activities.

Fragile Legacy: A Film and Research Project about Blaschka Glass and Ocean Conservation 

Glass figurine of octopus in Blaschka collection

Cornell’s Johnson Museum of Art owns a remarkable collection of nineteenth-century glass marine invertebrates created by master artisans Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka. The collection, curated by Drew Harvell (EEB), is the jumping-off point for a planned feature-length documentary and book that will introduce Cornell’s glass menagerie and assess how the creatures have fared in today’s changing seas. RRF funding will allow Harvell, working with a filmmaker and museum collaborators, to complete the film’s first module, including underwater filming in Indonesia and Hawaii.

Sustainable Sanitation Systems for Human and Environmental Health 

Child with water poured on head

Safe, pure water is a worldwide need. Sustainable drinking water treatment systems like AguaClara are one part of the answer; the other half of a clean local water cycle is improved sanitation for human waste. A team of Cornell researchers, including Ruth E. Richardson (CEE), Monroe Weber-Shirk (CEE), Drew Harvell (EEB), and James M. Gossett (CEE), is developing a compact and effective anaerobic treatment unit for human sewage: the Upflow Anaerobic Sludge Blanket reactor. RRF funding will allow the team to jumpstart the design and build prototypes for future testing on the ground in Honduras or Indonesia.

A Novel Strategy for Increasing Iron and Zinc in Foods of the Developing World

Parboiled rice

Iron and zinc deficiencies are common in children, causing millions of deaths annually in developing countries. Robert Turgeon (BIOPL) and Neil Mattson (HORT) are unlocking how to genetically alter staple crops for better nutrition by introducing a gene that transfers iron and zinc from plants’ leaves into the tubers or seeds, where humans can eat them. Transgenic experiments on a model plant have tripled the iron content of seeds. The next step is to test the strategy on potatoes and rice. The RRF grant will allow the team to gather preliminary data needed to pursue major funding for this important research.