Rutgers Among Global Organizations Awarded Funding to Advance Data-Driven Climate Solutions

Accelerator Grant Program Graphic
Accelerator Grant Program Graphic

Rutgers New Jersey Climate Change Resource Center and the NJAES Office of Research Analytics are among 10 global climate action organizations named by the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation to its 2022 Accelerator Grant Program to advance their use of data and AI for impact, as part of the foundation’s $4.5 million commitment to climate action.

Rutgers works to help New Jersey adapt to climate change through research, the development of tools and technical guidance and stakeholder engagement. The university will utilize its $100,000 grant award to support the further development of a climate hazard data visualization and mapping tool to determine the needs of populations most vulnerable to health inequities caused by climate change.

“This great opportunity provided by the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation’s Accelerator Program will allow our team to leverage their analytical capabilities in exploration of novel approaches for examining the potential impacts of climate change on vulnerable populations in New Jersey.  We are excited to be a part of this program and enhance our current set of climate change visualization tools with the results of our analysis and modelling,” said Lucas Marxen of the Rutgers NJAES Office of Research Analytics.

“We are thrilled to be working with the McGovern Accelerator to build practical data tools that be used in New Jersey to assess impacts of climate change on health equity,” said Jeanne Herb of the Rutgers Bloustein School and co-director of the New Jersey Climate Change Resource Center.

Marjorie Kaplan, co-director of the center noted, “We are confident the collaborations and resources through the generous support of the McGovern Accelerator program will open up many more possibilities to meet needs not only of the community of end users we serve in New Jersey, but also we expect our results to be translatable to others working to address climate impacts that exacerbate health inequities.”

The 2022 Accelerators supported by the foundation are a group of global nonprofits working from New Jersey to Honduras to India on a range of environmental issues, including wildlife and marine conservation, land management, wind energy, and soil carbon sequestration. A number of the projects will focus on the impacts of climate change on vulnerable communities. Recipients will receive technical support and advanced analytics with the foundation’s data services team.

The Patrick J. McGovern Foundation has expanded its support for climate action, with new and renewed grants for organizations around the world. The grants support opportunities to address climate change with a diverse group of climate actors focused on building data infrastructure to inform interventions and policy. 

“To meet the urgent challenges of climate change, we need to deploy data science and AI in new and innovative ways,’ said President Vilas Dhar. “The Accelerator Program coupled with our climate grants will empower nonprofits to gain deeper insights into the solutions needed to build a more equitable and sustainable future.”

“The Patrick J. McGovern Foundation is playing a crucial role in supporting the work of earth defenders around the world who are seeking to use technology and data to protect critical ecosystems,” said Emily Jacobi, Founder and Executive Director of Digital Democracy. “Last year, we launched the Earth Defenders Toolkit thanks to the Foundation’s support. Now, we are thrilled to extend the work of the toolkit and expand access to new communities who are on the frontlines of local efforts to fight climate change.”

Many of these organizations have been developing the ideas for their data experiments for some time, said Nikita Japra, senior manager of the Accelerator program, and they’ve needed more than funding to test their hypotheses. “The Foundation enables the selected nonprofits to be able to take a risk on these proof-of-concept data projects, and, at the same time, helps them establish the building blocks of a more advanced culture of data use.”

Throughout the yearlong Accelerator Program, the foundation’s Data and Society team will guide the projects with technical support, training on advanced data analytics platforms, and data management best practices. The model emphasizes shared learning – including documenting and setting an example for how other nonprofits can advance nonprofit data maturity in an impactful, responsible, inclusive way.

Read more on the announcement of the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation’s 2022 Accelerator Grant Program.

This article was originally published by the SEBS/NJAES Office of Communications and Marketing on December 21, 2021.