EWFC Nexus Summit – About

About the NEXUS

The nexus of Energy, Water, Food, and Climate in the 21st century, presents opportunities for expanding the research frontier for new discoveries that integrate systems-based research and education for solutions to the vexing challenges on our environment. The extraction, production and use of these three systems (energy, water and food) are inextricably linked in an interdependent system that sustains life on our planet.

This summit and the accompanying research efforts present a pathway for solutions: a transformative open innovation built on open science and data integration for novel applications, new technologies, and a space for international thought leaders to exchange new ideas.

Florida A&M University’s School of the Environment is leading this summit to promote cross-cutting discussion, scholarship, and collaboration among researchers, students, and entrepreneurs to advance science, policy, and decision-making. Most importantly, the summit creates a platform for global discussions that allow participants to present innovative ideas for sustainable solutions. This year, we are collaborating with Mangosuthu University of Technology, Durban South Africa focusing on addressing the challenges in Africa.

I invite you to join us as we recruit and train a new generation of leaders ready to tackle these complex environmental challenges of our time.

Professor Sibiya is the Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal at Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT).

She has previously served as the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning. Executive Dean: Faculty of Health Sciences, Head of Department of Nursing. Prof Sibiya is an NRF rated scientist.

For recognition for excellent contribution in primary health care, in 2015, she was inaugurated as the Fellow of the Academy of Nursing of South Africa. Prof Sibiya was awarded by the Department of Science and Technology as the 2018 South African Distinguished Woman Scientist in Humanities and Social Sciences.

She has also received several research awards, which include Top Female Researcher of the Year, Top Researcher in the Faculty of Health Sciences. In 2019, she was awarded as the 2018 Senior Research- er of the Year. She was also awarded by the Forum of Professional Nurse Leadership as the 2019 Regional Nurse Leader. Her research area is primary health care with specific focus on maternal and child health. She has published over 120 journal articles, confer- ence proceedings, books, and book chapters.

She has successfully supervised 60 Masters and 33 PhD students. For the 2024 EnergyWaterFood- Climate Nexus Summit, Prof Sibiya is the leader for the MUT Local Organising Committee (LOC).

About the Founder

 

Victor Ibeanusi, Ph.D.; Dh.C (Honoris Causa) Dean and Professor, FAMU School of the Environment

In the face of the challenges set by global climate change impacting access to safe water, procurement of sustainable energy, and food security, there is only one path ahead, a transformative innovation built on open science with integration of novel applications and new technologies. The particular processes and applications of this path would allow a truly disruptive and accelerated transformation to sustainable development. Dr. Ibeanusi, Florida A&M University-Dean School of the Environment, is leading and advancing this global effort, the nexus science enterprise addressing this vexing global challenge.

In 2019, Dr. Ibeanusi was honored with a Dh.c (Honoris causa) from the University of Miskolc, Hungary. He is a recipient of the Fulbright Specialist Program in Germany and a Senior Fulbright Fellow designed to support
curricular and institutional planning at academic institutions. Dr. Ibeanusi is one of the six pioneering recipients of the AT&T Foundation Industrial Ecology Fellow, a program that seeks to eliminate or reduce environmental
impacts at every stage of a product’s life cycle- from design, to manufacture, to use, to disposal or re-use. Dr. Ibeanusi’ s Fellowship training includes those at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems (SPAWAR), San Diego CA; Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site at Aiken, SC; Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Lab; United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (USEPA) National Exposure Research Lab, Athens GA; USEPA’s Superfund and Land Chemical Divisions, Chicago; and the Research Triangle Park, NC. Dr. Ibeanusi holds a Ph.D. degree in Environmental Microbiology, focused on microbial systems biotechnology.

Nine Thematic Tracks

Achieving water quality in environmental science is about monitoring, maintaining, and improving the health of water bodies. This process involves assessing and managing pollutants, ensuring safe drinking water, protecting aquatic ecosystems, and sustaining water resources for future generations. Scientists use various methods, such as water sampling, chemical analysis, and biological assessments, to monitor water quality. They also employ technologies like remote sensing and GIS for comprehensive watershed management. Key challenges include addressing sources of pollution, such as industrial discharge and agricultural runoff, and adapting to impacts from climate change. Effective water quality management is crucial for public health, biodiversity conservation, and sustainable development.

Achieving zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is a crucial goal in the fight against climate change. It involves eliminating or offsetting all human-made emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) to effectively reduce the concentration of these gases in the atmosphere. This objective can be pursued through various strategies, including transitioning to renewable energy sources, improving energy efficiency, implementing carbon capture and storage technologies, and adopting sustainable land use and agricultural practices.

Achieving environmental food security is a multifaceted challenge that demands a comprehensive approach considering the intricate inter play between ecosystems, climate, and human well-being. It involves prioritizing sustainable practices that promote soil health, reduce chemical inputs, and minimize habitat disruption.  Simultaneously, efforts must be directed towards mitigating the environmental impacts of food production, such as greenhouse gas emissions, water use, and biodiversity loss.

Achieving breakthroughs in microbial systems and bioinformatics research is pivotal for unlocking the vast potential of microorganisms in various fields, including healthcare, agriculture, and environmental remediation. This research area involves leveraging advanced computational techniques, data analytics, and genetic engineering to better understand microbial ecosystems, their interactions, and their genetic makeup. By deciphering microbial genomes and metabolic pathways, bioinformatics aids in designing tailored interventions for improved bioprocessing, the development of novel antibiotics, and bioremediation strategies.

Achieving soil and carbon goals in environmental management involves implementing sustainable practices, such as soil restoration, afforestation, and reduced carbon emissions, to improve soil health and sequester carbon within natural ecosystems. Research has shown that these practices can lead to enhanced soil fertility, increased carbon sequestration, and a substantial reduction in overall carbon emissions, contributing significantly to efforts to mitigate climate change.

Achieving an AI-driven circular economy represents a transformative approach to sustainability and resource management. This paradigm leverages artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to optimize the use, recycling, and repurposing of materials and products within a closed-loop system. AI-driven solutions can enhance the efficiency of resource allocation, waste reduction, and product design, facilitating the transition from a linear “take-make-dispose” economy to a circular one that minimizes environmental impacts.

Archiving big data in environmental science is an essential step towards understanding and addressing global environmental challenges. By systematically collecting, storing, and analyzing vast datasets related to Earth’s ecosystems, climate patterns, and human impacts, scientists can gain invaluable insights into environmental processes. This comprehensive approach is crucial for modeling climate change, assessing biodiversity, monitoring pollution, and managing natural resources effectively. Utilizing advanced tools like remote sensing, GIS, and machine learning, environmental scientists can uncover patterns and trends that inform sustainable practices and policy decisions. This data-centric method is pivotal for predicting future environmental conditions, fostering sustainable resource management, and formulating responsive environmental policies, thereby contributing significantly to the preservation and restoration of our planet’s health.

Achieving climate-resilient agriculture is a critical research and development goal in the face of climate change. This endeavor involves implementing a suite of adaptive strategies and innovative technologies that empower farmers to mitigate and adapt to shifting weather patterns and extreme events. Key research areas include developing climate-resilient crop varieties, improving water management and irrigation systems, enhancing soil health through sustainable agricultural practices, and fostering early warning systems and climate information services to inform decision-making.

Letting a new science enterprise lead the way embodies the spirit of innovation and pioneering in the realm of scientific research and technological advancement. We aim to create an organization that stands at the forefront of exploring unexplored scientific territories, harnessing the power of interdisciplinary collaboration, cutting-edge technologies, and groundbreaking methodologies. Our mission is to not only solve existing scientific challenges but also to proactively address the future complexities of global issues, especially in critical areas such as environmental conservation, healthcare advancements, space research, and digital innovation. This enterprise is committed to setting new benchmarks in scientific inquiry and application, fostering a culture where creativity, collaboration, and problem-solving thrive. Through this approach, we anticipate significantly advancing our understanding of the world and enhancing the quality of life globally, ushering in a new era of scientific achievement and societal impact.