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September 14, 2020
Purdue team receives $2 million NSF grant to create global network

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) describe a global resolve to transform the world across 17 related economic, social, and environment thematic areas. However, the challenge is the inevitable set of conflicts and tradeoffs among the competing land- and water-related SDG demands, the impact of these demands at both the local and global levels, and the challenge of collaborating and coordinating teams across the globe.

To confront these challenges, the Global to Local Analysis of Systems Sustainability (GLASS) project, based at Purdue University, was awarded $2 million from the National Science Foundation to build an international network of networks, called GLASSNET.

“We’ve set out to create a global network of scientific teams and research communities to work together and tackle sustainability issues related to land and water use across the globe,” said Thomas W. Hertel, distinguished professor of agricultural economics, principal investigator on the project, and director of the GLASS project at Purdue. “With GLASSNET, our goal is to reduce barriers to information-sharing by creating global linkages between researchers. We hope to leverage those with complementary expertise, integrate cross-disciplinary data and analyses, and bridge gaps between supporting disciplines and scales of analysis.”

“This effort is a powerful example of Purdue’s leadership in bringing researchers together to address global challenges,” said Karen Plaut, Purdue’s Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture. “Working collaboratively toward solving these critical sustainability issues is at the heart of our land-grant mission.”

“This project leverages and expands the important work Dr. Hertel has led in the Department of Agricultural Economics to improve the sustainability of our food systems,” said Jayson Lusk, distinguished professor and head of Purdue’s Department of Agricultural Economics.

GLASSNET will act as a center without walls to break down global communication barriers through a synergistic mix of models, data, spatial scales, tools, disciplines, expertise, cultures, key regional test beds, and open access commitment to fill the SDG integration gap. Collaborators on the project are X. Carol Song (Purdue University); Matthew Huber (Purdue University); Stephen Polasky (University of Minnesota); and Danielle Grogan (University of New Hampshire). The team will focus specifically on the land- and water-related SDGs, including: SDG 1 No Poverty; SDG 2 Zero Hunger; SDG 6 Clean Water and Sanitation; SDG 12 Responsible Consumption and Production; SDG 13 Climate Action; SDG 14 Life Below Water; and SDG 15 Life on Land. 

Writer: Kami Goodwin, 

Source: Thomas W. Hertel,

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