Part of the solution: UOG kicks off its membership in sustainability consortium
Rommel Hidalgo, chief information officer for UOG, shows a map of other member institutions of the Global Consortium for Sustainability Outcomes with which UOG faculty can collaborate on sustainability projects.
More than 20 faculty and administrators learned of a new source of funding and new opportunities for international collaborations on Dec. 12, 2018, at a meeting marking the start of the University of Guam’s membership in the Global Consortium for Sustainability Outcomes.
The GCSO is an invitation-only international network of universities and research institutes advancing solutions to sustainability challenges through research, development, and capacity building.
Over a conference call during the meeting, Karen Kao, the Arizona State University–based manager of strategic partnerships for GCSO, explained the idea behind the consortium and how being a member is beneficial.
The organization is particularly focused on putting research into action in order to help communities worldwide solve urgent sustainability issues.
“Universities are excellent at research and development, but not many solutions are being implemented on the ground,” Kao said.
So the consortium aims to close what it terms an “implementation gap” between the phases of research and on-ground solutions. It does so by generating and testing a wide range of solutions and aiding the transfer of those solutions to people who can implement them.
Primary benefits for UOG as a member are being able to apply for GCSO grants and form new international collaborations. (Story continues below.)
Austin Shelton, executive director for UOG’s Center for Island Sustainability, serves as UOG’s representative in the GCSO network.
As part of the consortium, UOG can propose sustainability projects for funding that have been tested and are ready for implementation. The projects need to have a non-academic implementation agent — a business, government, school, or non-government organization partner — who has agreed to implement the solution, and UOG must have at least two other GCSO members on board as collaborators. The project must also be scalable to work in other communities around the world.
Projects previously funded by the consortium have focused on topics ranging from building capacity in sustainable local food options to implementing off-grid renewable energy.
UOG faculty and administrators who sign up to become part of the GCSO database of 12 other member universities can be contacted for collaboration on other members’ projects. UOG can then learn of other sustainability solutions that might work well in Guam. (Story continues below.)
UOG faculty and administrators register on the GCSO database as potential project collaborators with the other member institutions.
UOG Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs Anita Borja Enriquez led the UOG delegation to ASU in February to meet and engage with ASU President Michael Crow and other institution leaders that resulted in the invitation to join.
“This is a unique opportunity for UOG and for Guam to be linked to the multi-year number one ranked institution in innovation,” she said. “We can now see and emulate what ASU and its partner institutions are doing on a global scale, while also sharing and funding solutions we’ve developed here through leveraged resources.”
Other member institutions of GCSO include Arizona State University, Portland State University, and universities and colleges in Hong Kong, Thailand, Mexico, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
Anita Borja Enriquez, UOG’s senior vice president for academic affairs, explains the value of the GCSO membership with faculty and administrators.
The Global Consortium for Sustainability Outcomes (GCSO) is a network of universities and research institutes that advances solutions to sustainability problems through research, development, and capacity building. GCSO generates and tests a wide range of solutions including technologies, policies, economic incentives, social change, and cultural practices. It transfers solutions to implementation agents and seeks to scale solutions deemed especially effective. Sustainability outcomes are achieved on multiple continents. GCSO’s success is measured by evidence-based, positive outcomes and impacts on sustainability issues worldwide.