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Higher Education

The Transatlantic Research Partnership is proud to support the following projects:  

Confronting Ethno-racial Discrimination in Agricultural Work: A French-American Research Collaboration 

Discipline: Geography 
Partner Institutions: The New School / INRAE 
Laureates: Kristin Reynolds / Coline Perrin 

Informing Wildlife Conservation with a More-than-Human Geography Perspective 

Discipline : Geography 
Partner Institutions: Boston University / CNRS, Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle  
Laureates: Anne Short Gianotti / Meredith Root-Bernstein 

A framework for improving health literacy (meCare): meeting interests and a level of understanding of individuals in health information 

Disciplines: Computer Science / Information – Linguistics 
Partner Institutions: Towson University / Université de Lille 
Laureates: Jinie Pak / Amel Fraisse  

On the Environmental Anthropogenic Metabolism of Urban Settlement 

Disciplines: Environmental Sciences – Design  
Partner Institutions: Harvard University / Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture 
Laureates: Yun Fu / Claire Doussard  

Fair Housing Policies in Global Cities 

Disciplines: Environmental Sciences – Political Science 
Partner Institutions: University of California at Los Angeles / Université Paris Cité  
Laureates: Paavo Monkkonen / Magda Maaoui 

Artificial Intelligence Guided Materials Design for Clean Energy 

Discipline: Engineering  
Partner Institutions: University at Buffalo / Université de Bourgogne 
Laureates: Fei Yao / Stéphanie Bricq 

Managing human microbial communities for reducing reproductive impacts of endocrine disruptors 

Discipline: Health 
Partner Institutions: University of Arizona / INRAE 
Laureates: Melissa Herbst-Kralovetz / Zehra Esra Ilhan 

Linking soil properties, geomorphology, and aquatic chemistry in rapidly changing permafrost environments 

Discipline: Environmental Science 
Partner Institutions: University of Minnesota / Université Paris Saclay  
Laureates: Nicolas Jelinski / Antoine Séjourné 

Quantifying the present and future stability of the Arctic halocline: synthesizing modeling and observations 

Discipline: Environmental Science 
Partner Institutions: University of Washington / Ifremer  
Laureates: John Guthrie / Camille Lique 

Enabling Mechanical Recycling of Rubbers through Polymer Mechanochemistry 

Discipline: Chemistry 
Partner Institutions: University of Texas at Austin / University de Lyon  
Laureates: Gabriel Sanoja / Damien Montarnal 

POET-Particles as niches for nOn-cyanobactErial diazoTrophs 

Discipline: Environmental Science 
Partner Institutions: University of Santa Cruz / Mediterranean Institute of Oceanography 
Laureates: Kendra Turk-Kubo / Mar Benavides 

Genomic variability and evolution of the plant pathogenic fungus Rhizoctonia solani AG1 associated with multiple hosts of agronomic and economic importance around the world 

Discipline : Biology  
Partner Institutions: University of Arkansas / Plant Health Institute Montpellier  
Laureates: Alejandro Rojas / Pierre Gladieux 

Automated discovery of solar-powered chemical reactions 

Discipline: Chemistry  
Partner Institution: Northeastern University / Aix-Marseille Université  
Laureates: Steven Lopez / Max Pinheiro Junior 

Biophysical modeling to inform Brain-Computer Interface learning mechanisms 

Discipline: Engineering 
Partner Institutions: University of California San Diego / Inria, Institut du Cerveau  
Laureates: Parul Verma / Marie-Constance Corsi 

Modeling plastic pollution beaching 

Discipline: Environmental Science 
Partner Institutions: University of Wisconsin-Madison / CNRS 
Laureates: Nimish Pujara / Gautier Verhille 

2022 Projects

Robust and interpretable multi-modal signal processing and approaches for the screening, understanding and monitoring of neurodevelopmental and neurophysiological disorders.

Partner Institutions: Duke University / ENS Paris Saclay
Laureates: Juan Matias Di Martino & Laurent Oudre

Telehealth and remote assessments are increasingly popular, demanding novel mathematical, technological, and computational discoveries. This project is a contribution in this direction. Project investigators focus on developing robust and interpretable machine learning techniques. In particular, they evaluate our ideas in the context of neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders across the US and France.

Areas of study: Computer Science / Information

Epigenetic modifications and Long-Lasting tolerance to PlaSmodium falciparum infEctions (ELLIPSE).

Partner Institutions: Case Western Reserve University / IRD
Laureates: Katherine Dobbs & Célia Dechavanne

This project aims to determine the mechanisms that underlie the effects of malaria in pregnancy on infant immune system development. Using samples obtained in a cross sectional study of pregnant women in Benin and cutting-edge epigenetic techniques, project investigators will test their hypothesis that in utero malaria exposure reprograms neonatal stem cells, constraining functional responses by circulating immune progeny cells. Results from this project may offer a compelling path towards novel therapies and improved vaccine design.

Areas of study: Health

Molecular rotors and motors: from natural evolution to de novo design.

Partner Institutions: University of Washington / CNRS
Laureates: Alexis Courbet & Ashley Nord

Bridging single molecule biophysics and computational protein design, project investigators seek to reveal the structure-function relationship of natural rotary molecular motors to inform the design of de novo protein nanomachines.

Areas of study: Physics

Assessment of water storage capacity in mountain watersheds using data science and geophysical data.

Partner Institutions: University of Wyoming / Université Grenoble Alpes
Laureates: Dario Grana & Romain Brossier

The goal of this project is to improve the understanding of the physical processes in the near subsurface by using data science methods to accurately predict rock properties, their spatial variability, and water storage capacity. The results will reduce hydrological model uncertainty and will be beneficial to make informed decisions on water management.

Areas of study: Geosciences

Fragmentation of bubbles and drops in turbulence.

Partner Institutions: John Hopkins University / CNRS
Laureates: Rui Ni & Nathanael Machicoane

This project aims at building a unified framework to better understand and model the fragmentation in oceanic turbulence, from large pockets of entrained air from waves to spumed water drops from sea sprays. Fragmentation is a key process in mass transport at the air-sea interface for climate modeling.

Areas of study: Engineering

Adaptative, Local and Innovative Algorithms for Stochastic Optimization (ALIAS).

Partner Institutions: University of Michigan / Université Paris Dauphine-PSL
Laureates: Albert Berahas & Clément Royer

In this project, principal investigators propose to capitalize on decades of algorithmic development in (un)constrained optimization and build upon modern techniques for stochastic optimization to design practical, adaptive methods that do not require extensive tuning and are amenable to constrained formulations.

Areas of study: Computer Science / Information

Physics-informed self-supervised machine learning: a hybrid approach for prognostics of energy and aviation systems.

Partner Institutions: University of Central Florida / Université Toulouse III – Paul Sabatier
Laureates: Felipe Viana & Christian Gogu

Effective prognostics and health management (PHM) frameworks would be of great benefit for improving the operational lifetime and optimizing the maintenance of large industrial assets such as aviation or energy systems. The project addresses two major current challenges in the development of PHM: 1. scarcity in labeled, supervised monitoring data; and 2. interpretability of the algorithm’s predictions.

Areas of study: Engineering

Mitochondria in fragile X Syndrome, a genetic form of autism spectrum disorder.

Partner Institutions: Oklahoma State University / CNRS
Laureates: Elizabeth McCullagh & Giulia Bertolin

Sound sensitivity is one of the most common sensory complaints for people with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). How and why sounds are perceived as overwhelming is unknown. Principal investigators will use a genetic form of ASD, Fragile X Syndrome, to study mitochondrial activity and morphology in the auditory brainstem, a crucial circuit for early sound processing that requires high cellular metabolic activity to understand auditory issues underlying auditory hypersensitivity.

Areas of study: Biology

Electrochemical denitrification: enabling access to clean water for all.

Partner Institutions: Arizona State University / CNRS
Laureates: Sergio Garcia-Segura & Carlos Sanchez Sanchez

Nitrate is among the most commonly reported water quality violations worldwide. Nitrate in drinking water can disable oxygen transport mechanisms of red blood cells and result even in death (also known as blue-baby syndrome). This project develops fundamental understanding of an emergent transformative technology that uses a small electrical current to remove nitrate from water by producing innocuous nitrogen gas.

Areas of study: Chemistry

Deformation spaces of geometric structures and their geometry.

Partner Institutions: University of Virginia / Université Grenoble Alpes
Laureates: Sara Maloni & Andrea Seppi

The Project Investigators propose to study families of geometric structures on manifolds and how they change when one perturbs them, focusing in particular on geometric and dynamical aspects. They plan to use results and techniques developed in the context of hyperbolic structures for studying other structures, like Anti-de Sitter or convex-projective structures.

Areas of study: Mathematics

Synthesis of Azo compounds via ‘Electroclick’ chemistry: a green approach towards therapeutics and stimuli-responsive polymers.

Partner Institutions: Texas A&M University / Université Claude Bernard Lyon I
Laureates: Quentin Michaudel & Julien Vantourout

This proposal aims to provide a sustainable method to access a family of highly sought-after organic molecules called azo compounds. These molecules exhibit a unique behavior when irradiated with light, which has been harnessed for a myriad of applications in areas as different as medicinal chemistry and materials science. The proposed process has therefore the potential to accelerate the design of bioactive molecules and light-responsive materials without producing toxic chemical wastes that plague the current syntheses of azo compounds. 

Areas of study: Chemistry

Cross-scale study of Photosystem II dry down.

Partner Institutions: University of Wyoming / CEA Saclay
Laureates: Carmela Rosaria Guadagno & Tania Tibiletti

In this project, principal investigators propose characterizing the behavior of the photosystem II complex (PSII), an integral part of the photosynthetic apparatus, and its sensitivity to water depletion. Their cross-scale approach will provide a fundamental, mechanistic basis for implemented modeled yield predictions under drought, necessary to reach future sustainable productivity and freshwater management.

Areas of study: Biology

Emissive twist bend liquid crystal devices containing clustomesogens.

Partner Institutions: Kent State University / Université de Rennes I
Laureates: Marianne Prevot & Yann Molard

Chirality is the inability to superimpose an object onto its mirror image. This project aims at discovering red emitting chiral hybrid materials for the generation of the next devices in polarized optics. 

Areas of study: Physics

Population structure and genomic diversity of the emergent forest pathogen Cryptostroma corticale.

Partner Institutions: Oregon State University / INRAE
Laureates: Jared LeBoldus & Mireia Gomez Gallego

In this project, principal investigators propose to sequence the genome of C. corticale and to analyze the pathogen population structure in both continents. The results will help elucidate the historical entry pathways and expansion into nonnative areas. The genomic resources generated by this project will allow further research on the mechanisms of disease emergence with transcriptomic analyses.

Areas of study: Environmental Sciences

Food and race. A transatlantic dialogue.

Partner Institutions: University of Connecticut / Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès
Laureates: Mathilde Cohen & Hourya Bentouhami

This project aims at studying the performative dimension of food practices in France and in the United States, in view of race and gender inequities in particular. Through qualitative interviews, legal and archival research, and textual and visual analysis, principal investigators analyze how food tropes are formed in the political imaginaries that ground these societies’ cultural identities since the end of the 18th century.

Areas of study: Philosophy

Social representations of national decline in France and the USA: Social psychological and cognitive components.

Partner Institutions: University of California Santa Cruz / Université de Lorraine
Laureates: Jérémy Yamashiro & Pierre Bouchat

Principal investigators propose a set of nationally representative surveys and psychological experimental studies to examine declinist representations in France and the United States. In particular, they aim to describe the cognitive characteristics of such representations (e.g. heuristics underlying judgments of decline and accessibility biases in collective memory and prospection), their social correlates and mediators, and their consequences in terms of intergroup relationships and political behaviors. We will examine how responsive declinist representations are to psychological interventions.

Areas of study: Psychology

New trends in digital platform market regularisation: a comparative EU-US perspective.

Partner Institutions: New York University / Université de Technologie de Compiègne
Laureates: Elettra Bietti & Anne Bellon

The project’s aim is to offer a comparative EU-US perspective on current digital platform regulation efforts through a hybrid methodology drawn from law, philosophy and political sociology. The output will consist in the articulation of new frames and methods that can assist policymakers in moving beyond existing neoliberal regulatory instruments so as to more effectively tackle harm to persons in digital markets.

Areas of study: Political Science

Remembering spaces of internment.

Partner Institutions: University of Arizona / Centre de Recherches Sociologiques sur le Droit et les Institutions Pénales (CESDIP)
Laureates: Beth Weinstein & Nicolas Fischer

Remembering Spaces of Internment (RESI) brings together scholars across disciplines to foster new research on an emerging object of study in social sciences—internment places and their administrating institutions. As spaces of internment have rarely been studied as a pervasive structural phenomenon, the main goal of this project is to develop a unified theory of their organization and articulation from case studies, focusing on the obliteration or reactivation of remembering.

Areas of study: History

Notre Dame in color: visualizing the layered polychromy of the Cathedral of Paris.

Partner Institutions: University of Alabama / Sorbonne Université
Laureates: Jennifer Feltman & Grégory Chaumet

The sculptures of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris were once vibrantly painted and in multiple layers, but the layers have not been firmly dated. Using data from the Laboratoire de recherche des monuments historiques, project leaders will digitally paint layers onto a 3D model in order to document and visualize the changing aesthetics of Notre Dame.

Areas of study: Technology and Art History

Previous Projects / 2021
– Thomas Jefferson Fund

Retrospectively Gated Multispectral 4D Photoacoustic Cardiac and Brain Imaging

Partner Institutions: Purdue University / Université de Montpellier  
Laureates: Craig Goergen & Pierre Sicard  

Neurocardiology focuses on the interaction between the brain and the heart. While the relationship between brain injury and heart disease is still largely unknown, there is evidence suggesting a relationship between brain damage and heart dysfunction, a finding that could be of clinical importance to determine the risk a patient has of developing heart failure after experiencing traumatic brain injury (TBI). The project focuses on improving imaging techniques of both the brain and heart using a relatively novel technique: photoacoustic tomography. The researchers will apply photoacoustic to a mouse model of TBI. Through this project they will be able to study the interplay between the brain and the heart and determine how they relate by investigating blood flow in the brain and fat accumulation in the heart. This will allow them to determine the downstream effects of TBI, while also helping them to determine how photoacoustic imaging could eventually be applied in the clinic. 
Areas of Study: Engineering 
Year: 2021 

The Origins and Development of the Mental Timeline

Partner Institutions: University of Washington / Université de Paris-CNRS  
Laureates: Ariel Starr & Maria Dolores de Hevia 

The ability to represent abstract concepts sets humans apart from all other animals. For example, although we cannot see or touch time, we possess rich temporal representations. What enables this cognitive feat? As evidenced by language, gesture, and cultural artifacts, people from cultures around the world tend to borrow from the domain of space to represent time. By thinking about time in terms of space, we are able to ground our representations of an abstract domain in a more concrete one. These space-time associations provide adults with robust temporal representations that support reasoning about and memory for temporal order. To what extent might these associations be a product of our biology versus a cultural invention? To answer this question, the researchers will use implicit looking time and pupillometry measures to explore the origins and developmental trajectory of space-time associations beginning in the first few days after birth and extending into adulthood. 
Areas of Study: Psychology 
Year: 2021 

Topology and Geometry of Tropical Varieties and Applications 

Partner Institutions: University of Washington / Ecole Polytechnique-CNRS  
Laureates: Farbod Shokrieh & Omid Amini 

Tropical geometry is a current development in contemporary mathematics, founded through the cumulative efforts of mathematicians of diverse horizons, with the aim of explaining various limiting phenomena in mathematics and physics. The project will contribute in advancing the understanding of the geometry of tropical spaces and the scope of their applications by initiating collaborations. The researchers will focus on the exploration of two facets: intrinsic properties of tropical spaces through the study of their topological properties in relation with our complex geometry, and applications to number theory and arithmetic geometry, in the study of solutions within the set of rational numbers of systems of polynomial equations, one of the oldest problems in mathematics. 
Areas of Study: Mathematics 
Year: 2021 

Immigrant Legal Status and Integration Across Four National Contexts

Partner Institutions: University of California Davis / Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne 
Laureates: Caitlin Patler & Marie Mallet-Garcia 

Immigrant legal status is a central axis of stratification in Europe and the United States, (re)producing inequality across multiple domains including socioeconomic status, political participation, and wellbeing. Yet we know very little about how the impacts of immigration status may vary across national contexts. What barriers and opportunities are faced by immigrants across a continuum of legal statuses, and how do immigrants navigate these circumstances across contexts? To answer these questions, the researchers will analyze over 800 semi-structured original interviews conducted with Latin American immigrants in the United States, France, Spain, and the UK between 2010- 2020. 
Areas of Study: Sociology 
Year: 2021 

Multi Scale Interactions in the PacifiC (MUSIC) – Development of Tropical Instability Waves parameterizations for improving El Nino simulations in Earth Systems Models

Partner Institutions: University of Hawaii / CNRS-Université Toulouse 
Laureates: Malte Stuecker & Julien Boucharel, Lionel Renault 

The Eastern Equatorial Pacific (EEP) is home to the El Nino/Southern Oscillations (ENSO), the strongest year-to-year climate fluctuation with widespread effects on global weather patterns. Extreme ENSO events are becoming more frequent and increasingly disrupt ecosystems in the context of climate change. However, simulations of the EEP mean climate still suffer from strong biases in current Earth System Models (ESMs), such as too cold simulated sea surface temperatures. Recent studies pointed that Tropical Instability Waves (TIWs), small-scale meandering circulation features, partly explain some observed ENSO characteristics and are responsible for a net warming of the EEP. Yet, ESMs’ coarse resolution hinders their aptitude to simulate TIWs properly. Building upon the researchers’ previous work, the project aims to develop TIWs parameterizations to be implemented in ESM to reduce mean state bias, improve ENSO simulations, and in turn lead to increased confidence in future climate projections. 
Areas of Study: Earth System, Geosciences 
Year: 2021 

Meshing Techniques for the Simulation of Wave Propagation in Plasmas

Partner Institutions: University of Arizona / Université Grenoble Alpes 
Laureates: Lise-Marie Imbert-Gerard & Charles Dapogny 

In the context of harnessing fusion energy, the numerical simulation of electromagnetic wave propagation (and absorption) from plasma-facing antennas is of high interest, especially to improve heating techniques. This project focuses on the particular topic of adaptive meshing for the simulation of wave propagation in plasmas with the aim to enable optimal performance of a promising class of numerical methods, the so-called quasi-Trefftz methods. These methods have been developed specifically to tackle efficiently wave propagation problems through inhomogeneous media, such as experimental fusion plasmas. In this framework, the mesh, a discretization of the computational domain, is key to the performance of the method in terms of accuracy and computing time. The work includes the development of efficient meshing techniques robust in the high-frequency regime, based on the quality of the electromagnetic field representation and based on local physical properties of the plasma. 
Areas of Study: Mathematics 
Year: 2021 

Innovative Perennial Cropping Systems with Enhanced Performance Development of Kernza Intermediate Wheatgrass

Partner Institutions: University of Wisconsin-Madison / ISARA 
Laureates: Valentin Picasso & Olivier Duchene  

Kernza intermediate wheatgrass is a deep-rooted grass recently improved for grain production (tradename Kernza). It is raising attention as a promising dual-use grain and forage perennial crop which provide an excellent design to promote agroecological cropping systems, facilitating low input food-feed production while promoting high environmental performances in fields (e.g. soil protection, carbon sequestration, soil quality improvement, leaching mitigation). Previous results identified establishment practices, weed management, and yields longevity as three critical research needs, limiting its widespread adoption in fields. The project suggests crop tillers demographic as key determinant of seedings establishment in fields, weed competitiveness, and multi-years forage-grain production. A comprehensive and multi-sites (France, US, Canada) assessment of tillering activity in fields is therefore used to answer questions of initial and persisting tillering activity of Kernza. 
Areas of Study: Agronomy 
Year: 2021 

Magnonic Interferometry

Partner Institutions: University of Delaware / IMT Atlantique 
Laureates: M. Benjamin Jungfleisch & Vincent Vlaminck 

The ongoing miniaturization of conventional electronics relying on CMOS technology is accompanied with serious heat generation, which requires alternative solutions beyond Moore’s law. A key contender for future energy-efficient computing and signal processing devices is based on the manipulation of magnons, which are the fundamental excitations of spin waves, in thin ferromagnetic films. Furthermore, new functionalities have emerged from non-boolean and wave-based computing concepts. In this respect, the direct interference of short wavelength magnons has proven to be a propitious alternative for high-speed computation functionalities. Several recent studies demonstrated that the propagation of spin waves in ferromagnetic thin films can be shaped in a similar fashion to basic concepts in optics. With the aim of exploring the potential of magnonic interferometry, the researchers will study the spin-wave beamforming in continuous thin films generated from curvilinear-shaped antennas. 
Areas of Study: Physics 
Year: 2021 

Identification of a Mitochondrial Glutamine Carrier

Partner Institutions: Cornell University / INSA Toulouse  
Laureates: Nathaniel Vacanti & Fabien Létisse 

Our body breaks down the food we eat and appropriates nutrients to all of our individual cells. Our cells further digest these nutrients for energy and use their byproducts for structural maintenance. Our cells have specialized compartments, called mitochondria, that efficiently produce usable energy and cellular building blocks from available nutrients. Of course, nutrients must enter mitochondria in order for mitochondria to be effective. When our bodies digests proteins, they produce a very important nutrient called glutamine. Glutamine is used by mitochondria to ensure cells are always able to produce energy even when other nutrients (such as sugars and other amino acids) are being used for structural maintenance. However, the identity of the protein that shuttles glutamine into mitochondria is unknown. The project aims to identify this glutamine-shuttling protein by applying sophisticated analytical and genetic techniques to track cellular metabolism. 
Areas of Study: Biology 
Year: 2021 

Computational Fluid Dynamics: Numerical Approximation and Long-time Behavior

Partner Institutions: Florida International University / CNRS- Université Paris Saclay   
Laureates: Hakima Bessaih & Ludovic Goudenège 

Climate change and weather prediction are two different phenomena, although related. They are both based upon having good mathematical models. Once the model is established, some quantities of interest are investigated and studied. The current models are continuously updated by adding some quantities of interest. For example, it is essential to add equations to take into account moisture. Some models include adding equations modeling clouds, the moisture coming from oceans, uncertainly, and random effects. The way to introduce them is very delicate, and there is no systematic way of doing it. Furthermore, these models become very complicated and challenging to study mathematically. Hence, it is imperative for the mathematical community to introduce a fundamental study of these models.   The critical question about these models is the long-time behavior. The numerical approximation could be sufficiently accurate to predict the future with precision. 
Areas of Study: Climate Change, Mathematics 
Year: 2021 

Compact Objects in Dwarf Galaxies: A Missing Piece to Elucidate Galaxy Evolution

Partner Institutions: Elon University / CEA  
Laureates: Chris Richardson & Vianney Leboutellier 

Dwarf galaxies are the most common type in the Universe and therefore crucial to a holistic understanding of galaxy evolution: however, both current and next generation observations will remain strongly biased towards giant galaxies. This inhibits the ability to address fundamental questions spanning many fields in astronomy. In particular, the question of how giant galaxies form supermassive black holes is one in which dwarfs are well suited to answer. The researchers will work to improve naïve and generalized approaches, by using newly-developed topological models together with Bayesian statistical analysis. They will infer the properties and role of compact objects, such as black holes, in two dwarfs-dominated galaxy surveys. The galaxies in these surveys mimic those found in the early universe and will serve as an ideal testbed for novel approaches to be applied to high-redshift galaxies, eventually ameliorating the overall understanding of galaxy evolution.   
Areas of Study: Space 
Year: 2021 

Narratives of Racialization: Mediterranean Sources and Tropes of Race in the Premodern and Postmodern Eras

Partner Institutions: University of Illinois Urbana Champaign / Université Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis  
Laureates: Mauro Nobili & Mehdi Derfoufi 

Race is a cultural construction that relies on tropes and narratives to shape the organization of societies. Despite the disappearance of state-sponsored racism from today’s world, racism continues to affect the distribution of resources, both material and symbolic, along the lines of racialized groups. The research looks at how racial tropes contribute to social marginalization in the premodern and postmodern Mediterranean. Recognizing that racism did not disappear with the disappearance of the racial regimes on the 20th century (e.g. Nazi Germany), the researchers look at the premodern and postmodern forms of racialization from below. From manuscripts illuminations to video games, the goal is to collect sources from the many Mediterranean linguistic traditions that can effectively represent how processes of racialization circulate across different cultures. 
Areas of Study: History 
Year: 2021 

Design and Development of Sustainable Nanomaterials for Environmental Remediation

Partner Institutions: University of Colorado Boulder / Université de Paris   
Laureates: Hendrik Heinz & Miryana Hémadi  

As the population of the world continues to increase there is an ever-increasing strain on critical natural resources on which we rely. Clean water remains one of the most precious resources available to us across the world, a lack of which has already caused local disasters and has the potential to turn into a global humanitarian disaster. In modern society water contamination from commercial production facilities to human waste removal consumes vast quantities of water, which need to be decontaminated before human consumption in costly processes which require significant amounts of energy and sometimes rare materials. In order to remediate these issues, cheap, efficient, and scalable methods must be developed for wastewater treatment. The researchers will utilize and integrate experimental synthesis and measurements with highly accurate simulations to accelerate the design low-cost environmentally friendly nanomaterials for adsorption of molecular water contaminants such as heavy metals. 
Areas of Study: Sustainability & Energy Transition, Chemistry 
Year: 2021 

Exploring Governance Dynamics for Sustainable Energy Transitions in Overseas Island Jurisdictions: The Case of Martinique in the Caribbean

Partner Institutions: University of Delaware / Université de la Réunion 
Laureates: Kalim Shah & Jean Philippe Praene 

Small island jurisdictions continue to be strained by dependence on imported fossil fuels to run their economies and meet the needs of their societies. Seeking cleaner energy options and further energy independence through transitions to renewable resources such as wind, solar and geothermal have potential in many islands but have yet to reach fruition. Drawing from our experience in assessment of technical renewable energy potentials and policy, regulatory and institutional analysis of energy security in islands, our interest is planning pathways for achieving transition in the particular contexts of overseas island departments and territories. For this the researchers study the French departments in the Caribbean and Indian ocean, the nature of their energy governance and their transition goals, while navigating regional energy policy with independent island neighbors and comparing to U.S and Netherlands island territories in the Caribbean region. 
Areas of Study: Sustainability & Energy Transition, Engineering, Political Science 
Years: 2021 

Adapting to Survive: Understanding How Pathogens Overcome Starvation to Cause Infection

Partner Institutions: University of Illinois Urbana Champaign / CNRS- Université de Strasbourg 
Laureates: Thomas Kehl-Fie & David Lalaouna 

Antibiotic resistance is one of the most significant health challenges facing humanity, with numerous governmental agencies stating the need for new treatments. During infection bacteria must obtain all of their nutrients from us. This fact is leveraged by the immune system, which actively starves invaders of essential metals. Despite this, pathogens, such as the superbug Staphylococcus aureus, still cause devastating diseases. Disrupting the ability of pathogens to overcome host-imposed starvation is a promising new therapeutic strategy. However, how pathogens respond to nutrient limitation is poorly understood. The collaborative team has shown that non-classical regulatory mechanisms are necessary for bacteria to overcome metal starvation during infection. Using innovative interdisciplinary tools and experimental approaches, the researchers will build upon this finding and elucidate how pathogens overcome a critical host defense and identify new therapeutic targets. 
Areas of Study: Biology 
Year: 2021 

Enabling Privacy Preserving in Federated Learning

Partner Institutions: Pennsylvania State University / INSA Lyon 
Laureates: Youakim Badr & Antoine Boutet 

Described as the “fuel of the digital era”, personal and private data is the fuel of all desires. Collected, analyzed and exploited, users’ data offer unprecedented opportunities for innovation, but raise real concerns about data privacy. The emergence of AI ebnabled-applications accentuates data privacy issues. Federated learning is a promising on-device machine learning scheme and new research topic on privacy-preserving machine learning. Federated learning becomes a paradigm shift in pracy-preserving AI and offers an attractive framework for training large-scale distributed learning models on sensitive data. However, federated learning still faces many challenges to fully preserve data privacy. The project tackles the cybersecurity challenges of federated learning systems in terms of data privacy. To achieve this goal, the researchers will extend different federated learning approaches to consider their limitations in terms of accuracy, confidentiality, robustness, explainability and fairness. 
Areas of Study: Computer Science / Information 
Year: 2021 

Towards a Single-cell View of Genetic Reprograming for Nitrogen-fixing Symbiosis in Soybean

Partner Institutions: New York University / CNRS- Université Toulouse 3 
Laureates: Bruno Guillotin & Jean-Malo Couzigou 

Reduced soil fertility is a rising problem in modern agriculture leading to poor agricultural yield. So far, massive release of chemical fertilizers is a common strategy to compensate this yield gap, but this represents an extremely costly approach, both economically and ecologically. Unlike crops such as maize, rice or wheat, soybean can overcome nitrogen limitation by interacting symbiotically with soil bacteria in specific root-derived organs called nodules. To promote low input agriculture, it is crucial to have a good understanding of symbiotic nodules and root growth plasticity. Soybean being a key strategic culture in US and EU, this project aims at unravelling the molecular mechanisms controlling root and nodule formation by bringing together French and US experts of soybean biology and single-cell sequencing technology. The single cell methods, not applied to soybean to date, will allow to establish an atlas of expressed genes in each cell of differentiating roots and nodules. 
Areas of Study: Biology 
Year: 2021 

Unveiling Thermal Channels in Disordered Macromolecules

Partner Institutions: Cornell University / Centrale Supélec 
Laureates: Zhiting Tian & Yann Chalopin 

To date, enzymes are one of the most efficient catalysts enhancing reactions by up to 15 orders of magnitude. Enzyme catalyzed reactions have been vital in processes ranging from the advancement of medicine to biofuels and waste treatment. Despite their array of uses, recent studies have only just begun to probe the fundamental mechanisms of the active site of enzymes, the area responsible for their catalytic abilities. Specifically, the role of thermal channels at the catalytic site is largely unexplored. It is necessary to probe the impact of these localized vibrations on the catalytic ability of enzymes.  This study will advance the current understanding of enzyme mechanisms by providing new insight into the engineering of thermal channels to control enzyme reaction rates, increasing their potential in all fields. By furthering the understanding of thermal vibrations within enzymes, the researchers will specifically have a significant impact on their therapeutic and sustainable applications. 
Areas of Study: Sustainability & Energy Transition, Engineering 
Year: 2021

Functionalized Graphene Templates for Metal Oxide Catalyst Nanoparticles in Zinc-Air Batteries

Partner Institutions: University of Texas Arlington / Chimie Paris Tech-PSL 
Laureates: Michael Bozlar & Domitille Giaume 

The storage of electrical energy is among one of most pressing challenges toward a sustainable planet. Efficient and low-cost energy storage systems not only favor the deployment of renewable energy sources, but also promote the growth of electric vehicle markets, just to cite a few urgent needs. Zinc-air batteries offer promising characteristics, including large theoretical energy densities combined with very low manufacturing costs that make them ideal candidates for novel energy storage solutions. Yet, Zinc-air batteries face several technological and engineering obstacles, such as the depletion of anode during cycling or the limited catalytic performance of the cathode (air electrode). 
Areas of Study: Sustainability & Energy Transition, Engineering 
Year: 2021 

Previous Projects
– Thomas Jefferson Fund

The Thomas Jefferson Fund is proud to have supported 102 ambitious French and American research projects between 2017 and 2020.
54 of these projects have been additionally supported by the “Make Our Planet Great Again” Initiative.
18 projects have been in the Humanities and Social Sciences field, 76 in STEM, and 8 in Science for Society.

Virtual Theatres in the French Atlantic World: Urbanism and Spectacle (18th-19th centuries) 

Partner Institutions: Louisiana State University / Université Bordeaux-Montaigne 
Project Leaders: Jefferey Leichman & Pauline Beauce 

Theater history, architecture and computer-based virtual reality modeling are brought together to leverage affordances of new technologies to explore the place of theatrical architecture within eighteenth- and nineteenth-century urban environments in both Bordeaux and New Orleans. By developing new methodologies for using digital resources, the project highlights many kinds of virtuality – theatrical, historical, and technological – that are inherent to our understanding of the past, just as they are central to developing the humanities research of the future. 

Areas of Study: History 
Year: 2020

Early Life Socioeconomic Health Inequalities in France and the United States

Partner Institutions: University of Washington / Institut National d’Etudes Démographiques (INED) 
Laureates: Melissa Martinson & Lidia Panico 

Inequalities by income and education—often referred to as socioeconomic status—exist in infant and child health around the world. Countries with stronger social protections and less economic inequality tend to have smaller health inequalities—even at birth. This study will use newly available data to compare health inequalities at birth and in childhood by family income and maternal education in France, the United States, and also the United Kingdom.  

Areas of Study: Sociology, Health 
Year: 2020 

How Are Environmental Concerns Disrupting Traditional Politics in Rural America and Rural France? A Transatlantic Reassessment of Social Sciences Approaches 

Partner Institutions: Montana State University / Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) 
Laureates: Catherine Dunlop & Lynda DeMatteo 

Long considered to be the forgotten and declining parts of both countries—known disparagingly as “flyover country” in America or as “la France profonde” in France—rural regions have become global hot spots in debates over the future of democratic societies as well as the ecological future of our planet. Drawing on research methods from political anthropology and the environmental humanities, the project will investigate and compare perceptions of climate change among rural people in Montana and in the west of France.  

Areas of Study: Climate Change, Anthropology 
Year:  2020 

Pre-dialysis Care Trajectories of Patients with End-stage Renal Disease: An International Comparative Analysis Between France and the USA 

Partner Institutions: Emory University / Ecole des Hautes Etudes de Santé Publique 
Laureates: Jessica Harding & Sahar Bayat 

Worldwide, chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a major public health issue. In 2017, approximately 740,000 Americans and 90,000 French were being treated for Stage 5 CKD (ESRD). ESRD requires long-term dialysis or kidney transplantation for survival, however, patients often start dialysis in an emergency setting, which is associated with higer mortality and poorer quality of life. Therefore, the researchers will compare pre-dialysis care trajectories between France and the US and determine key risk factors associated with EDS. Findings of this study will directly inform the development of healthcare policies to improve quality of care for patients with CKD and ESRD. 

Areas of Study: Health 
Year: 2020 

Scanning Josephson Microwave Spectroscopy: A New Probe of Quantum Phenomena in Superconducting Systems

Partner Institutions: University of Wisconsin Madison / Collège de France 
Laureates: Victor Brar & Caglar Girit 

The goal of this collaboration is to develop a new type of microscope that is capable of visualizing how individual quantum states – such as the spin of an electron, or the vibration of a molecule – interact with their environment. The researchers will use this microscope to characterize the surfaces of super conductors, a rare class of materials that display quantum mechanical behavior at macroscopic length scales. The microscope they are developing will be the first diagnostic tool that can identify and characterize such defects with atomic-scale resolution, providing information that is valuable for realizing functional quantum computers. 

Areas of Study: Physics 
Year: 2020 

Thermal Energy Harvesting from Ionic Liquids and Nanofluids 

Partner Institutions: University of California Riverside / CNRS Université Paris – Saclay  
Laureates: Luat Vuong & Veronika Zinovyeva 

On earth, there is an abundance of waste energy in the form of heat at relatively low temperatures (i.e., vehicle engines, computers, stoves, hot-water pipes, combustion industries). Additionally, sunlight turns into unutilized heat energy when it is absorbed by inorganic materials and not reflected back into the atmosphere (i.e., building and vehicle roofs, street asphalt). The challenge with harvesting low-grade heat and sunlight over such large areas is an issue of economic feasibility. In this project, the researchers propose to study heat and light harvesting with complex, charged liquids like electrolytes, which are relatively inexpensive to manufacture.  
Areas of Study: Sustainability & Energy Transition, Chemistry 
Year: 2020 

Quantifying Underwater Volcano Degassing Using Novel Seismo-acoustic Approaches 

Partner Institutions: University of Michigan / Université Grenoble Alpes  
Laureates: Zack Spica & Corentin Caudron 

Volcanic gases are the leading forces of volcanic eruptions and are routinely measured in the atmosphere by various instruments. Among volcanic emissions, CO2 exerts key control on atmospheric-oceanic CO2 levels. Today, volcanic gas quantification in aqueous environments remains challenging thereby limiting the understanding of volcano degassing as well as its contribution to the atmosphere. Under this project, the researchers will develop new field techniques to provide better estimates of volcanic CO2 budget by taking advantage of aqueous volcano degassing and develop novel imaging and monitoring techniques. 

Areas of Study: Earth System, Geosciences 
Year: 2020 

Machine Learning, Invariants of Tensors and Quantum Information

Partner Institutions: Auburn University / Université de Technologie Belfort-Montbéliard 
Laureates: Luke Oeding & Frédéric Holweck 

When quantum computers become a reality, they will vastly outperform classical computers. This quantum supremacy comes from entanglement, which has no classical equivalence, and allows one to store information using non-classical correlations. Algebraically, invariants of tensors and higher discriminants can quantify and classify quantum entanglement. The researchers propose using Machine Learning and Algebraic Invariant Theory to teach a classical computer to recognize entanglement types. This new insight should lead to a better understanding of the nature of entanglement in quantum algorithms.  

Areas of Study: Mathematics 
Year: 2020 

Waste Heat Transition to Electricity via Thermoelectric Effect Studies

Partner Institutions: Arizona State University / Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers  
Laureates: Kenan Song & Guillaume Miquelard-Garnier

Thermoelectric generators (TEG) could convert waste heat to electricity, increasing energy storage, transition, and utilization efficiency. Manufactured into different devices, TEG has the protentional to power wearable devices, extend the mileage of electric vehicles, and collect industrial waste heat. TEG technology has historically been limited to military and aerospace applications, yet the U.S. and French collaborators will leverage inexpensive materials and advanced manufacturing to achieve sustainable energy transition, especially to generate power using low or high temperatures waste heat, and that could provide a significant opportunity in the near future. 

Areas of Study: Technology, Engineering, Sustainability & Energy Transition, Chemistry 
Year: 2020 

Static Analyses of Program Flows: Types and Certificate for Complexity (StATyC)

Partner Institutions: Augusta University / CNRS Université Paris Nord 
Laureates: Clément Aubert & Thomas Seiller 

The StATyC project aims to improve the safety and reliability of computer programs by using the recent advances in formal logic. Through the static analysis of the flow of information in programs, this project will design fine-grained type systems accounting for resource-consumption (e.g., time, space, energy), and implement the capability of issuing complexity certificates in compilers. A resource-sensible low level virtual machine would impact all the languages using it, providing an immediate and significant benefit to software at large. 

Areas of Study: Computer Science / Information 
Year: 2020 

Exploring Ecophysiological Divergence Among Cryptic Macroalgae 

Partner Institutions:  Florida State University / Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle  
Laureates: Sophie McCoy & Line Le Gall

Cryptic species – animals that appear identical but are genetically distinct – are indistinguishable by morphology and are often mistakenly classified together. This has caused a confused understanding of their life history and ecology and has led to divisions between field ecologists and taxonomists over the importance of functional and genetic processes. In this project, the researchers will explore relationships between taxonomy and function of four cryptic species in the European Osmundea complex, a group of similar seaweeds. 

Areas of Study: Earth System, Biology 
Year: 2020 

Journey to Mars: Pharmaceutics for Deep-space Explorations

Partner Institutions: University of Arizona / Université de Montpellier   
Laureates: Jerome Lacombe & Ian Soulairol

After the Moon exploration and the recent International Space Station project, countries have decided to delve deeper into space, starting multiples missions to send humans into deep space, especially towards Mars. Such long journeys require astronauts to bring their own drugs in case of medical emergency. However, most of the drugs that are used and stored on Earth may be degraded by the high exposure to space radiation. Thus, the researchers propose in this project to investigate drug stability in space environmental conditions and to develop robust dry forms formulas to prevent drug degradation. 

Areas of Study: Space 
Year: 2020 

Generating Electromagnetic Waves with Time-Varying Media

Partner Institutions: University of North Carolina at Charlotte / Institut d’Électronique et de Télécommunications de Rennes  
Laureates: Mario Junior Mencagli & David González Ovejero 

This research project proposes a new paradigm for generating electromagnetic radiation based on time-varying media through the exploration of two novel concepts. First, an investigation on how a static electric field distribution can be made to radiate when a portion of medium undergoes a change in permittivity will be completed. Second, the possibility of transforming static electric energy to an electromagnetic wave using only a conventional transmission line loaded with a time-varying capacitor charged up with a DC voltage will be explored. The proposed approach can provide a new route for the energy-efficient design of radiation sources with a great potential in short-range communication, ultra-wide-band wireless and sensing devices. 

Areas of Study: Engineering, Sustainability & Energy Transition 
Year: 2020 

Co-evolution of Amino Acids and Minerals Under Submarine Hydrothermal Conditions: From the Early Earth to Icy Moons

Partner Institutions: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute / CNRS Aix Marseille Université   
Laureates: Ulysse Pedreira-Segade & Vassilissa Vinogradoff 

The icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn are the target of two upcoming missions by NASA (Europa clipper) and ESA (JUICE). Like early Earth, they are thought to shelter submarine hydrothermal systems where long-term interactions between water, rocks and organic matter might be conducive to life’s origin. New experimental studies are necessary to understand how organic matter might have evolved on these icy bodies and how major differences between ocean worlds and the early Earth might impact the habitability of these satellites. The researchers will study simple and abundant biomolecules under hydrothermal conditions representing both the early Earth and icy moons to understand the co-evolution of organic matter and geochemistry and its implication for the emergence of life. 

Areas of Study: Chemistry 
Year: 2020 

Operando Determination of Spin-state Populations in Switchable Spin-crossover Single-molecule Devices

Partner Institutions: University of California Davis / Institut de Chimie de la Matière Condensée de Bordeaux   
Laureates: Josh Hihath & Mathieu Gonidec 

With modern electronic devices reaching size scales on the order of a few nanometers, and switching speeds that are saturating, there is a clear and evident need to explore new approaches for creating active, switchable electronic devices, and study new paradigms for controlling switching at the nanoscale. Single-molecule spintronic devices represent a unique and largely unexplored avenue for advancing electronics into a new era. The goal of this project is to design, synthesize, characterize, and explore operational paradigms of novel switchable single-molecule spintronic devices based on a well-known class of switchable magnetic molecules called Spin Crossover. 

Areas of Study: Engineering 
Year: 2020 

Empowerment-based HIV Prevention Interventions: Exploring Tensions in Research Implementation and Identifying Best Practices

Partner Institutions: City College of New York (CUNY) / CNRS Institut Convergences Migrations  
Laureates: Tashuna Albritton, Victoria Frye & Anne Gosselin  

In France, migrants are disproportionately affected by HIV and many infections occur after their arrival, hence the need for HIV prevention interventions to reduce infections. The United States has a long history of designing and testing HIV prevention interventions for highly affected groups, often based on empowerment principles. However, tensions between the stated principles of the research and the implementation dynamics often exist. In this project, we seek to explore how researchers in France have addressed these tensions and how the dynamics of race and social relations influence the implementation in project MAKASI. 

Areas of Study: Health, Sociology, Anthropology, Psychology 
Year: 2019 

Crisis or Not? Comparing Opioids, Addiction/Overdose, and Treatment in U.S. and France

Partner Institutions: University at Buffalo, State University of New York / INSERM 
Laureates: David Herzberg & Marie Jauffret-Roustide  

The United States is currently facing a crisis of opioid-related deaths of historic proportions, overall life expectancy has actually dropped. Although France is not free of problems with drug use and related harms, it is not experiencing a similar public health crisis. Our project seeks to explain the historical development of opioid use and commerce, and the configuration of drug treatment and harm reduction, arguing that different trajectories in these areas account for much of the difference. We will then use semi-directed interviews to explore the relevance and impact of these broad structural factors on people in or providing addiction treatment with Opioid Substitutive Therapy and related modalities. 

Areas of Study: History, Political Science, Sociology 
Year: 2019 

The Social Making of the Self. The Impact of Social Norms on the Constitution of Personal Identity and its Implications in Political Theory

Partner Institutions: The New School for Social Research / Université de Lyon 
Laureates: Daniel Rodriguez-Navas & Pierre-Jean Renaudie  

How do social and political norms influence and shape the building of individual identities in modern liberal democracies? The goal of this interdisciplinary project is to provide a renewed and original framework to understand and assess the impact of social norms on the constitution of the self, and the effect that changes in traditional conceptions of personal identity may have on political theory. The project intends to demonstrate the complementarity between these domains of analysis to shed new light on the political challenges related to the definition of individual identities.  

Areas of Study: Philosophy, Sociology, Political Science 
Year: 2019 

A Spotlight on Dark Matter: Accurate Mass Modeling of Massive Galaxy Clusters

Partner Institutions: University of Michigan / Centre de Recherche Astrophysique de Lyon 
Laureates: Keren Sharon & Johan Richard  

Galaxy clusters are the most massive structures in the Universe; most of their mass is made of dark matter, which cannot be observed directly. One way to measure this mass is through analysis of observations of gravitational lensing, the bending of light rays from background galaxies as they travel near cluster cores, now a well-established method. We propose to measure the mass distribution of a sample of galaxy clusters through the application of state-of-the-art techniques that have been developed by our teams and use the best available observational evidence (from the Hubble Space Telescope and from ground observatories).  

Areas of Study: Physics  
Year: 2019 

Resonantly Enhanced Magnetoplasmonic Lattices for MicroRNA Detection

Partner Institutions: University of Georgia / Ecole Normale Supérieure Paris-Saclay 
Laureates: Tho Nguyen & Ngoc Diep Lai  

Improvement in cancer survival rates may be achieved through better diagnostics and improvements in detection of potential biomarkers of disease. Mounting evidence suggests that microRNA expression profiles are potential cancer biomarkers because aberrant microRNA expression profiles have been linked to the development of several cancer types. Unfortunately, conventional microRNA detection methodologies are generally inadequate for routine testing. The aim of this project is to develop and mature a new platform technology based on resonantly enhanced magneto-optics (MO) in magneto-plasmonic lattices for rapid and sensitive microRNA profiling.  

Areas of Study: Technology  
Year: 2019 

Matrix Equations for Big Data Compression

Partner Institutions: Cornell University / Télécom ParisTech 
Laureates: Alex Townsend & Robert Gower  

A wide variety of applications in computational science and statistics involve data or a solution that is represented by arrays with millions or even billions of entries. Due to storage limitations on modern computers, it is often essential to approximate these huge arrays by using compressed data formats. In this project, we investigate the underlying structures that appear in disparate real-world sources of data that allows one to achieve dramatic compressions and will devise novel compression algorithms from computational mathematics with modern randomized linear algebra techniques.  

Areas of Study: Computer Science / Information, Statistics, Mathematics  
Year: 2019 

Bioinspired Soft Robots

Partner Institutions: Princeton University / Aix-Marseille Université 
Laureates: Pierre-Thomas Brun & Joel Marthelot  

When a cicada emerges from its cocoon, its wings expand in a couple of minutes, prompted by the injection of a substance similar to blood in a network of folded veins. This rapid expansion exceeds our best engineering designs. The goal of the project is to design soft robots mimicking this biological behavior and capable of evolving rapidly from a folded state to a deployed functional shape. The project is directed towards designing and creating soft machines, mechanically programmed so as to encode intelligence into the very matter of a robot.  

Areas of Study: Engineering 
Year: 2019 

International Intelligent Microrobotics Exchange (I2ME) Program

Partner Institutions: Purdue University / Université de Franche-Comté, CNRS 
Laureates: David Cappelleri & Cedric Clevy  

Several recent studies have shown that microrobotics is a formidable tool that addresses many societal issues, to nourish human curiosity, to understand the infinitely small, and also to meet very strong industrial needs, such as the manufacturing of ultra-integrated, smart multifunctional products. Given these very strong needs, the International Intelligent Microrobotics Exchange aims to create transatlantic synergies through unique and complementary skills in order to provide particularly original micro robotic approaches in three key areas: (1) intelligent and adaptive micro-manipulation and robotic micro-assembly, (2) untethered mobile microrobotics, and (3) dexterous medical micro robotic tools. 

Areas of Study: Engineering 
Year: 2019 

CREAM: Controlling, Rationalizing and Exploiting Active Matter

Partner Institutions: University of Michigan / Sorbonne Université 
Laureates: Jordan Horowitz & Alexandre Solon  

The most basic characteristics of a material inform its utility: Concrete is durable, whereas rubber is elastic. While these everyday materials are incredibly useful, they appear primitive when compared to the remarkable dynamism of cellular materials employed by organisms. Nature’s innovation is materials that utilize chemical energy to open new possibilities. While our understanding of cells, their biochemistry and genetics, is progressing rapidly, our theoretical understanding of the basic physical properties of this “active matter” is lagging behind. This project aims to provide understanding about the physical laws that govern active matter.  

Areas of Study: Physics 
Year: 2019 

Epigraphene 2.0: A New Generation of Graphene for Quantum Transport at Room Temperature

Partner Institutions: Georgia Institute of Technology / CNRS délégation Alpes – Institut Néel 
Laureates: Zhigang Jiang & Clémens Winkelmann  

The electronics industry, flagship of the global economy, is at a crossroads. Looking back, the success of the industry built resides upon decades of material research on semiconductors. Looking ahead, one sees the rising of quantum computing, which, however, still lacks a scalable realization platform. Future technology calls for revolutionary materials that can exploit the full potential of quantum physics while meeting energy efficiency requirements. The goal of this project is to introduce epigraphene2.0, a new generation of epitaxial graphene grown on the non-polar facets of electronics-grade silicon carbide. 

Areas of Study: Physics 
Year: 2019 

Biomass Natural Potassium the Best Way to Improve the Soft Pyrolysis Process (Bio-NOBAPOLE)

Partner Institutions: Georgia Southern University / Université de Lorraine 
Laureates: Rafael Lopes Quirino & Baptiste Colin 

In order to lower the environmental impact of human activities, there is a need for the development of value-added products from biomass. It is possible to enhance some properties of biomass through the use of a controlled heat treatment in the absence of oxygen (torrefaction). Heat-treated biomass can be more easily processed, leading to more homogeneous products for energy applications. Our approach consists of the combination of expertise in the pyrolysis of wood and in the chemical characterization of biomass to develop a model able to predict adequate treatment conditions based on natural potassium content found in different biomass.  
Areas of Study: Sustainability & Energy Transition, Engineering 
Year: 2019 

Paper-based Nanocomposites for Energy Harvesting and Storage Applications

Partner Institutions: University of Washington / CNRS Aquitaine, Université de Bordeaux 
Laureates: Anthony Dichiara & Jinkai Yuan  

While current energy harvesting technology has been aimed at either high-or very low-power applications, portable electronics lie in between with typical power in the watts range. The use of batteries is troublesome due to environmental concerns and limited lifespan, necessitating their periodic replacement and hindering their use in remote areas of the world without access to electrical grids. A solution consists of developing self-powered systems that can fully rely on energy harvested and stored from the human body or ambient environment. In line with the climate change summit in Paris, the proposed research addresses the global challenge of ecofriendly routes to new dielectric and piezoelectric materials based on biodegradable and renewable resources. 
Areas of Study: Sustainability & Energy Transition, Engineering 
Year: 2019 

Satellite-based Monitoring of Urban Emissions in Support of Greenhouse Gas Emission Mitigation Policies

Partner Institutions: Colorado State University / CNRS Ile-de-France-Gif-sur-Yvette  
Laureates: Andrew Schuh & Thomas Lauvaux 

As fossil fuel emissions from urban areas have increased rapidly with urbanization, major metropolitan areas across the world have responded with unprecedented greenhouse gas emission mitigation actions. Until now, the lack of standardized protocols in emissions inventories cast doubt on achieving their goals. A trio of satellites, one launched in May 2019 (NASA Orbiting Carbon Observatory – 3), one in 2021 by France (CNES MicroCARB), and one in 2022 (NASA GeoCarb) will provide high time-space resolution images of CO2. To estimate CO2 emissions over cities across the globe, we will assemble the first global high-resolution assimilation system able to characterize CO2 flow at nearly two orders of magnitude finer scales than existing products.  

Areas of Study: Climate Change, Environmental Sciences 
Year: 2019 

Durability of Halide Perovskite Solar Cells

Partner Institutions: Princeton University / CNRS Paris-Centre 
Laureates: Barry Rand & Nathanaëlle Schneider 

Photovoltaics, with the ability to convert sunlight into electricity, are one primary technology for the transition of our energy economy towards renewable and sustainable sources. For this transition and technology to be successful requires reaching multi terawatts level of installed solar power. Our project focuses on the implementation of new solar cell materials, halide perovskites, that combine low cost and high performance.  

Areas of Study: Sustainability & Energy Transition, Chemistry, Engineering, Physics 
Year: 2019 

OASIS-Oceanic Nitrogen Fixation Across SpatIotemporal Scales

Partner Institutions: University of Hawaii / Mediterranean Institute of Oceanography 
Laureates: Samuel Wilson & Mar Benavides 

Primary productivity in the oceans is constrained by the availability of nitrogen. Currently, measurements of nitrogen fixation and quantification of the microbes responsible take several hours to days and samples are often processed months after the fieldwork has ended creating an unsatisfactory time lag. The objective of this proposal is to integrate novel devices to measure activity and diversity in near real-time, which will revitalize our measurements of nitrogen fixation in the global oceans.  

Areas of Study: Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Sciences, Physics 
Year: 2019 

Banking on Nature: Understanding the Circulation of Conservation Banking Instruments

Partner Institutions: New York University / INRA, Université Paris-Est Marne la Vallée 
Laureates: Ritwick Ghosh, David Kanter & Stephanie Barral  

Failure of governments to respond to environmental degradation and climate change has prompted a need for new policy instruments. Unlike traditional state-hierarchical approaches, new policy instruments rely on markets and private actors to advance sustainability. Applied to biodiversity and habitats, the most illustrative example of new policy instruments is Conservation Banking. In this project, we are developing comparative case studies to analyze Conservation Banking as theorized and practiced. 
Areas of Study: Climate Change, Sociology 
Year: 2019 

Socio-ecological Networks of Disease Transmission in the Indian Ocean Islands

Partner Institutions: Duke University / IRD, Université de la Réunion 
Laureates: James Herrera & Pablo Tortosa 

Research has documented conflicting associations between land use change and infectious disease risk, with some studies finding that deforestation increases disease risk for humans, while other studies find the opposite association. Our team is initiating research focused on disease transmission between people and small mammals in different habitats, and understanding how humans are exposed to disease by interacting with those habitats. We will combine data on disease epidemiology in wildlife and humans with social relationships among people to understand how a zoonotic disease can spread through the system. 
Areas of Study: Biology, Health, Environmental Sciences, Sociology 
Year: 2019 

Massive Entry of Renewable Energy: Operation, Storage and Intermittency

Partner Institutions: Columbia University / Ecole Polytechnique 
Laureates: Dylan Possamaï & Thibaut Mastrolia 

Actual deployment of renewable energy has recently proved hard partly due to the fact that a great part of citizens in France or US have not been provided with enough incentives, as for instance, feed-in tariffs and net metering systems. There is also a blatant lack of specific regulation for energy cooperatives, aimed at fostering their foundation and operation. This project aims at investigating optimal incentive policies applied to energy transition by taking advantage of recent and state-of-the-art progress in contract theory, at ensuring protection for the consumer and the electrical grid, and at reaching pollution reduction targets. 

Areas of Study: Sustainability & Energy Transition, Engineering, Mathematics, Economy 
Year: 2019 

Integration of Nanoscale Phosphors with InGaN Nanorod Light Emitters for High Performance White LEDs and Pixelated Displays

Partner Institutions: University of California, Santa Barbara / CNRS Alpes – Institut Néel 
Laureates: Michael Gordon & Geraldine Dantelle 

White LED (wLED)-based lighting has revolutionized energy utilization at the global level over the past decade. However, energy consumption can be even more reduced by designing and optimizing wLEDs at the nanoscale. The goal of our joint project is to efficiently and closely integrate the two materials used for wLEDs, namely InGaN semiconductors and Ce-doped Y3Al5O12 phosphors – YAG:Ce, to produce scalable and economical nanocomposite micro-wLEDs.  
Areas of Study: Sustainability & Energy Transition, Engineering 
Year: 2019 

Statistics of Turbulent Convection

Partner Institutions: Georgia State University / Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon 
Laureates: Jane Pratt & Julien Salort 

Convection, which takes place when a fluid is heated from below and cooled from above, is responsible for large plumes in the atmosphere, ocean, and stars. Large plumes move rapidly, generating fluid turbulence, and greatly effecting how a fluid transports moisture, particles, or chemicals. Because measuring and calculating in this moving frame is technically challenging, this point of view has rarely been studied for turbulent convection. They group proposes to study statistics of acceleration in collaboration, to understand how instances of very high or very low acceleration relate to the large-scale plumes and the level of turbulence generated in the atmosphere, ocean, and stars. 
Areas of Study: Earth System, Physics 
Year: 2019 

Quantitative Detection of Combustion Intermediates Under Reactive Conditions for Improved Fuel Efficiency

Partner Institutions: West Virginia University / CNRS Bretagne Pays de la Loire, Université de Rennes 1  
Laureates: Fabien Goulay & Lucile Rutkowski  

The project aims at improving our understanding of the chemistry occurring during combustion in order to optimize fuel efficiency and lower harmful emissions. This is achieved by using advanced spectroscopic tools in France and the US to quantitatively detect trace radical species governing the formation of particulates and green-house gases. The expected outcomes will provide key information in order to improve fuel efficiency at a molecular level. 
Areas of Study: Sustainability & Energy Transition, Chemistry, Physics 
Year: 2019 

Attribution and Projections of Changes in Discharge Across Africa and the Euro-Mediterranean Region

Partner Institutions: University of Iowa / IRD, CNRS, l’Université de Montpellier 
Laureates: Gabriele Villarini & Yves Tramblay  

Detection studies of discharge only provide us with an answer to whether the quantity of interest has changed, but not to the reasons behind these changes, and they do not provide us with insights on how to take this information into account for the design of future structures. By understanding how different agents (e.g., climate, land use / land cover) have contributed to the observed changes in discharge, and by examining how these factors are projected to change, we will have a better understanding of the processes at play and be better placed to make statements about projected changes in discharge.  

Areas of Study: Engineering, Environmental Sciences, Geosciences, Statistics 
Year: 2019 

Probabilistic Analysis of Air-sea Exchange in Hurricanes Using Laboratory and Numerical Experiments

Partner Institutions: University of Miami / BRGM 
Laureates: Milan Curcic & Pierre Sochala 

The RSMAS-BRGM project focuses on quantifying the impacts of air-sea interactions on the evolution of hurricanes. It leverages an existing NSF-funded effort to model these exchanges in laboratory experiments and computer simulations, and aims to provide a synthesis of the laboratory and simulation data. The long-term aims are to improve our understanding of the physical processes controlling air-sea exchange in high winds, and to calibrate the empirical parameters in ocean wave models, while accounting for the uncertainties in the measurements that are used to derive these parameters.  
Areas of Study: Earth System, Engineering, Geosciences, Statistics 
Year: 2019 

SUSTAIN – Steering Variety and Complexity in Operations Management Towards Sustainability

Partner Institutions: West Virginia University / Mines Saint-Etienne 
Laureates: Thorsten Wuest & Khaled Medini 

This project aims to investigate and develop innovative ways to promote a paradigm shift moving the perception of environmental sustainability from a constraining factor to a value-adding driver of the economic growth. The ambition is to contribute to extending the concept of customer centric operations management to a broader spectrum driven jointly by customer requirements and by environmental and economic sustainability. SUSTAIN builds on current best practices and theoretical state of the art about this topic to elaborate on roadmap to move forward to more customer sustainable operations management.  
Areas of Study: Sustainability & Energy Transition, Engineering 
Year: 2019 

 “Night at the museum” – Filling Gaps in the History of Emergence of X.fastidiosa Using Herbarium Collections

Partner Institutions: University of California, Berkeley / CIRAD 
Laureates: Andreina Castillo Siri & Adrien Rieux  

Xylella fastidiosa (Xf) is an invasive bacterial plant pathogen capable of infecting multiple crops of significant economic importance. Originating from south and central America, Xf was recently introduced to Europe via the accidental import of infected plants. To increase our understanding of Xf evolutionary history, we will study ancient Xf-infected plant samples from herbaria. Ancient DNA sequences will help us to gain insight into the origins of Xf as a plant pathogen, and better manage Xf current infections in a global change context. 
Areas of Study: Climate Change, Agronomy, Biology, Environmental Sciences 
Year: 2019 

Predicting Responses of Ecological Networks to Anthropogenic Perturbations

Partner Institutions: University of Michigan / Sorbonne Université 
Laureates: Fernanda Valdovinos & Elisa Thebault  

Agricultural productivity and sustainability are dependent upon abundant and resilient pollinators. However, pollinator populations are declining due to human disturbances like global warming and invasive parasites, predators, and competitors. To understand how agricultural ecosystems are affected by these disturbances, we are building an ecological network model that describes the multitude of interactions pollinators and plants participate in and how these different interaction types are related to each other by the species’ traits. 
Areas of Study: Climate Change, Biology 
Year: 2019 

Gas Transport and Separation in Complex Media: Kinetic Methods and Experimental Approach

Partner Institutions: Purdue University / Aix-Marseille Université 
Laureates: Jingwei Hu & Vincent Pavan  

The proposed project aims at characterization of gas transport properties of dense and porous membranes for Gas Sensing and Separation applications. The proposed project combines the unique expertise by French and US teams to achieve the quantitative understanding of gas kinetic effects in porous membranes and optimization of flow separation efficiency. The ultimate goal is to develop the fundamental knowledge for advancing membrane-based CO2 capture technologies. 
Areas of Study: Climate Change, Engineering, Mathematics 
Year: 2019 

Carbon Islands: Long-term Carbon and Other Geochemical Cycles in Hawaii and La Reunion

Partner Institutions: University of Hawaii / CNRS délégation Occitanie Ouest, Université de Toulouse 
Laureates: David Beilman & Gael Le Roux 

Peatlands cover more than 3% of the Earth’s surface and contain about 30% of the world’s soil carbon stock. Understanding carbon sequestration in wetland and feedbacks with global changes is crucial to understanding the carbon cycle. Past and future global landcover, climate changes and human activities play a role in dust emissions and transport that fertilize tropical regions from rainforests to remote oceans. This proposed project is fostering exchange between scientists to better know the long-term interaction between dust and the carbon cycle using remote volcanic island settings as natural archives. 
Areas of Study: Earth System, Environmental Sciences, Geosciences 
Year: 2019 

Revealing the Solid Earth’s Response to Slow Slip at a Plate Boundary

Partner Institutions: Massachusetts Institute of Technology / CNRS Alpes, Université de Grenoble 
Laureates: William Frank & Piero Poli 

Subduction zones are responsible for the largest earthquakes in the world with mega thrust events reaching magnitudes >9, inflicting major damage and loss of life. There is a societal need to forecast these devastating natural hazards; to be able to one day forecast major earthquakes, we must understand slow slip’s impact on the mega thrust earthquake cycle. Here we will develop a novel framework, jointly leveraging Global Positioning System (GPS) and seismic data, to reveal in high resolution how the solid Earth responds to slow rupture to better understand when, where, and how slow slip happens. 
Areas of Study: Earth System, Geosciences 
Year: 2019 

Combining Membrane Bioreactor and Advanced Chlorine Oxidation for Wastewater Reuse: Overcoming the Challenges of Natural Organic Matter

Partner Institutions: Louisiana State University / Université de Montpellier 
Laureates: Samuel Snow & Geoffroy Lesage 

Water quality and scarcity are serious challenges facing humanity today. The reuse of municipal wastewater (WW), after proper treatment, is a critical sustainability goal. Organic micropollutants and viruses are difficult and costly to remove from WW; but these contaminants must be reliably removed before the water can be reused. Recent innovations in light emitting diode (LED) technology offer a promising new WW treatment technique. The collaboration between the universities will bring the cutting-edge technology to France while enriching the research plans with access to well characterized, real-world water samples—a necessity for proving the technological viability. 

Areas of Study: Sustainability & Energy Transition, Earth System, Chemistry, Engineering 
Year: 2019 

HYMNE: Unravel Novel Polaritonic States in Hybrid Metasurfaces and Nanomaterials

Partner Institutions: University of Texas at San Antonio / Université de Technologie de Troyes 
Laureates: Nicolas Large & Rémi Vincent 

The proposed research uses the complementary of the theoretical expertise at UTSA to the core facilities and nanofabrication expertise at UTT: the NanoMat’ platform. While past and current works have brought scattered pieces of knowledge on metal-semiconductor nanomaterials and periodic arrays, this project will bring the two components on the same nanoscale platform for the first time. The project will focus on the understanding of the optical properties of this 2D nanomaterial arrangement, which will result in a deeper understanding of interaction mechanisms. The new physics that will emerge will serve as a platform for the realization of ultrafast, vivid, full-color pixels. 
Areas of Study: Sustainability & Energy Transition, Physics 
Year: 2019 

Characterization and Modeling of Aseismic Slip Transient Along the Japanese Subduction Zone

Partner Institutions: University of Southern California / CNRS Alpes, Université de Grenoble  
Laureates: Sylvain Barbot & Mathilde Radiguet 

Subduction zones host the world largest earthquakes; however, an increasing number of observations show that a significant part of the stresses released along these plate boundaries occurs aseismically, via transient slow slip events. However, the physical processes responsible for slow slip occurrence, and the mechanical interactions seismic and aseismic slip are still unclear. We will use Radiguet and Dr. Barbot’s expertise to improve our understanding of the seismic cycle on two targets zone along the Japanese subduction zone.  

Areas of Study: Earth System, Geosciences 
Year: 2019 

Enabling the Adoption of Agroecological Integrated Crop-livestock Systems

Partner Institutions: Boston University / INRA-INP-ENSAT 
Laureates: Rachael Garrett & Julie Ryschawy 

The decoupling of crop and livestock farming systems into specialized units of production has contributed to drastic environmental problems (water quality degradation, greenhouse gases, deforestation, …) globally. Despite a renewed worldwide interest for re-integrating these systems to improvise agricultural sustainability, integrated crop-livestock systems (ICLS) remain rare in commercial agricultural systems globally. The aim of this project is to enable the adoption of agroecological ICLS. 
Areas of Study: Sustainability & Energy Transition, Agronomy, Environmental Sciences, Political Science 
Year: 2018 

A Microfluidic Approach for Material- and Time-Efficient Screening of Carbon Dioxide Physical/Chemical Absorbents

Partner Institutions: North Carolina State University / CNRS Université de Bordeaux, Bordeaux INP 
Laureates: Milad Abolhasani & Samuel Marre 

This project is focused on development of a microscale fluidic platform for time- and material-efficient discovery, screening, and optimization of carbon dioxide (CO2) liquid absorbents for utilization of captured CO2 with minimal energy penalty. Utilizing the developed microfluidic platform integrated with a confocal Raman microscope, we demonstrate in situ characterization of the CO2-mediated separation of organic contaminants (e.g., tetrahydrofuran) from water. Future work will focus on the screening and optimization of switchable water for highly efficient continuous water purification using CO2 as the trigger. 
Areas of Study: Sustainability & Energy Transition, Technology, Engineering, Environmental Sciences 
Year: 2018 

When Cities Won’t Grow: The Policy Implications of Post-growth Urbanization

Partner Institutions: University of Michigan, Dearborn / CIRAD-CNRS-Université Paul Valéry Montpellier 3-Université Montpellier 1 
Laureates: Joshua Akers & Max Rousseau  

From demographic change to the centrality of the megalopolis in contemporary urbanization, slow and no growth environments will affect not only the fiscal capacity of cities but also the ability of population centers to change and adapt to economic and environmental challenges. Research has focused on how these conditions came to be and the ways in which residents, governments, and business have responded to urban decline. This project builds a network of researchers working on issues these cities are or will soon confront, how to manage and adapt to shrinkage, and examines the scales of present initiatives, their degree of connection with the market economy and organizational form. 
Areas of Study: Climate Change, Geography, Political Science 
Year: 2018 

Elucidating How Trees Resist Hydraulic Failure Under Extreme Drought to Predict the Vulnerability of Forests to Climate Change

Partner Institutions: University of California, Berkeley / INRA-Université de Bordeaux 
Laureates: Leander Anderegg & Laurent Lamarque 

Climate projections predict more frequent and intense droughts in North America and Europe, highlighting the vulnerability of global forests to drought and forest die-offs. Plant survival under drought has recently been linked to plant resistance to xylem embolism, the blockage of water conducting xylem vessels with air bubbles. However, despite recent advances in plant hydraulics, we don’t fully understand how plants prevent embolism. This project examines the physiological mechanisms underlying drought-induced embolism, using a collaboration of novel methods to resolve long-standing controversies in plant hydraulics, and will reduce uncertainty about the capacity of plants in natural ecosystems to withstand and recover from water stress. 
Areas of Study: Earth System, Climate Change, Biology  
Year: 2018 

Mathematical Epidemiology of Viruses Coinfecting Plants: Modeling, Analysis and Optimal Control Strategies

Partner Institutions: Oregon State University / Agrocampus Ouest 
Laureates: Vrushali Bokil & Frederic Hamelin 

The emergence and evolution of plant viruses impacts the health and biodiversity of crops and of plants, while the continued growth of the human population emphasizes the need for a sustainable agriculture. The problems in vector transmission of plant viruses are not simple; they are multiscale and often are driven by data from specific crops or fields. This project focuses on current problems related to coinfections in plants and vectors of viral disease and the evolution of vectored plant viruses. Our goals are to derive novel mathematical models and methods to advance the field of vectored plant virus epidemiology, and providing a better understanding of effective methods for control of plant viral diseases in crops and natural systems. 
Areas of Study: Sustainability & Energy Transition, Agronomy, Biology, Mathematics 
Year: 2018 

Assessing the Impact of Biological Aerosols on Rainfall: Effects of Land Cover Diversity and Landscape Properties

Partner Institutions: University of Florida / INRA 
Laureates: Brent Christner & Davide Martinetti  

Aerosols influence clouds and can promote or limit rainfall; however, their ubiquity in the atmosphere complicates efforts to identify the specific situations in which they have decisive roles. Previous work implies that RF may occur because bioaerosols that can catalyze the freezing of water in clouds are emitted from plants up to several weeks after rainfall, are transported into the atmosphere, and influence precipitation formation. A comprehensive analysis of the effect of land use on rainfall will help improve understanding of the conditions under which biological aerosols influence atmospheric processes that lead to rain. An outcome of this research is information that can guide methods to mitigate drought by modifying LU to favor rainfall. 
Areas of Study: Biology, Computer Science / Information, Environmental Sciences, Statistics 
Year: 2018 

An Archaeological and Paleoenvironmental Study of Urban and Agrarian Sustainability in the Basin of Mexico

Partner Institutions: University of Wisconsin, Madison / CNRS-Université Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne-Université Paris Nanterre 
Laureates: Sarah Clayton & Michelle Elliott 

The absorption of rural zones through accelerating urban expansion has become an inevitable process around the world, often in the face of climate change and ecologically fragile landscapes. Our project examines one case-study of ancient urbanization in the southeastern basin, the site of Chicoloapan (AD 500-900). Using archaeological and palaeobotanical data, we reconstruct the coupled patterns of urban growth and rural agricultural strategies that allowed this urban agglomeration of several thousand people to persist for over 400 years. Our data set will be useful for understanding ancient strategies of sustainable development, but can also inform modern efforts to manage growth in this same sector of the Basin today. 
Areas of Study: Sustainability & Energy Transition, Archaeology 
Year: 2018 

Ice Shelf-ocean Interactions in Antarctica, Enhancing French-US Collaboration to Reduce Uncertainty in Global Sea Level Rise Predictions

Partner Institutions: Columbia University / CNRS-INP-IRD-Université Grenoble Alpes 
Laureates: Pierre Dutrieux & Nicolas Jourdain  

Sea level rise is one of the most disruptive consequences of global warming, threatening coastal populations and infra-structure worldwide. If we are to develop strategies to either adapt to, or mitigate against, that threat, we first need to know what to expect in the future. The biggest uncertainty in estimates of future sea level is the contribution of the vast Antarctic Ice Sheet. Observations of thinning in some parts of the ice sheet have led to suggestions that an irreversible change may already be underway that could add over a meter to sea level over the coming centuries. This project will help improve past and present Antarctic contributions to sea level rise and provide the tools to allow a better assessment of what the future holds. 
Areas of Study: Earth System, Climate Change, Geosciences 
Year: 2018 

Electron-driven Reactivity of NOx Molecules by Electron Impact: the NO2/N2O Prototype for Control and Reduction of Atmospheric Pollution

Partner Institutions: Rollins College / Centrale-Supélec et Matériaux 
Laureates: Samantha Santo Dos Fonseca & Mehdi Ayouz 

Atmosphere degradation is strongly related to emission of pollutants from the combustion of fossil fuels. These pollutants, mainly volatile organic compounds, are toxic gases that can participate in the formation of ground level ozone and cause stratospheric ozone layer depletion. They can be easily converted into gaseous nitric acid and other organic nitrates in the air contributing to irrespirable particle levels. The main toxic gases emitted by industry, power stations, and vehicles, are nitrogen oxides (NOx). We propose to investigate the process of rovibrational excitations and dissociative electron attachment of these molecules, important for monitoring these species in the atmosphere and plasma modelling.  
Areas of Study: Chemistry, Engineering, Environmental Sciences, Physics 
Year: 2018 

Obscene Means: The Politics of Obscenity in The Early Modern and Postmodern Mediaspheres

Partner Institutions: University of California, Irvine / Université de Bordeaux Montaigne 
Laureates: Peter Frei & Nelly Labere 

What does ‘obscene’ mean? What does it have to say about the means through which meaning is produced and received in social interactions? Early modern Europe faced these questions not only in regard to the political, religious and artistic reformations for which the Renaissance stands, but also to the reconfiguration of its media sphere in the wake of the invention of the printing press. The aim of the present project is to get a detailed understanding of the political impact and implications of obscene representations in their relationship to the Gutenberg-Revolution and identify the mechanisms, the mediations, at play in the renegotiations of meaning in today’s Western societies. 
Areas of Study: Art History, Literature, Political Science, Sociology 
Year: 2018 

Towards a Genomic and Ecological Atlas of the Marine Microbes of the Southern Ocean

Partner Institutions: University of Chicago / Université de Bretagne Occidentale 
Laureates: A. Murat Eren & Lois Maignien 

The Southern Ocean, one of the most productive and ecologically distinct eco-system on Earth, plays a central role in global climate control as it absorbs half of the anthropogenic carbon dioxide and heat. At the core of this activity lies the marine plankton: a hidden microscopic forest which uses the energy from Sun to fix carbon that is necessary for marine life to flourish. A better understanding of the ecology and activity of microbes in the Southern Ocean will lead to a better understanding of the global carbon cycling, which will dramatically influence the accuracy of the next-generation climate models.  
Areas of Study: Earth System, Computer Science / Information, Environmental Sciences  
Year: 2018 

US-French Collaboration to Improve River Discharge Estimation Accuracy, Robustness, and Efficiency

Partner Institutions: University of Massachusetts, Amherst / IRSTEA 
Laureates: Colin Gleason & Hind Oubanas 

Water is fundamental to all life on earth; Rainwater irrigates crops, snow-melt enables thirty desert cities to thrive, and river water remains a vital resource for rural livelihoods the world over. NASA and CNES recognized the importance of providing open-source information about the world’s water over a decade ago with the planned launch of their Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite, which promises to estimate river flows from outer space: giving public access to information about rivers on every continent. This proposal leverages the previous work of the proposal team to make needed advances in the accuracy, robustness, and efficiency of these methods so the global community can have badly needed information on our most precious resource: water. 
Areas of Study: Earth System, Environmental Sciences, Geosciences 
Year: 2018 

An Economic Analysis of Dishonesty and Ethical Behavior in Organizations

Partner Institutions: Florida State University / CNRS-Université Lumière Lyon 2-Université Jean Monnet Saint Etienne-Université Lyon 1-ENS Lyon 
Laureates: John Hamman & Fabio Galeotti 

Dishonest practices (corruption, tax fraud, cyber-crime) increase transaction costs, reduce trust and undermine our security and freedom. This has detrimental long- and short-term consequences for society, negatively impacting growth, democracy and well-being. Recent studies revealed that dishonesty is prevalent in organizations, and that an organizational structure may exacerbate unethical behavior. The aim of this project is to study how information transmission under different payment regimes, social ties in the workplace, and hierarchical delegation of unethical decisions affect dishonesty. We expect to generate insights to inform theory as well as decision makers on how to reduce dishonest and unethical behavior to minimize their social impact. 
Areas of Study: Economy 
Year: 2018 

Abstraction Before the Age of Abstract Arts

Partner Institutions: Case Western Reserve University / Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales 
Laureates: Elina Gertsman & Vincent Debiais 

The concept of abstraction has always been considered the domain of modern art. Abstraction, the master narrative goes, was forged and developed in the twentieth century in response to the cataclysmic events of the 1900s and as a revolt against the figurative tradition of the past. Our project intends to challenge this narrative and release the notion of abstraction from its modern and contemporary confines. Focusing on the long and rich tradition of nonfigurative art, we aim to identify and explore the concept of abstraction as it develops and transforms throughout the Middle Ages and beyond, and reformulate the very way that we approach the history of representation. 
Areas of Study: Art History 
Year: 2018 

Study of Mechano-chemical Coupling During Cancer Progression

Partner Institutions: New York University / CNRS-Université Fédérale Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées 
Laureates: Liam Holt & Morgan Delarue  

Tumors growing inside organs change their environment, pressure is built up, chemicals and nutrients change. We still don’t know how these changes work together to either slow or accelerate cancer progression. To answer these questions, we will combine the expertise and technology of the French and US teams, which allows the research partners to change the chemical and nutritional environment of pancreatic cancer, and aggressive and incurable cancer. Eventually, we will study how cancer therapies are affected by pressure and chemical changes within and around tumors.  
Areas of Study: Biology, Health, Technology, Physics 
Year: 2018 

Make Our Planet Great Again: A Cross-national Comparison of the Influence of Restorative vs. Progressive Change Frames on Concern for Environmental Sustainability

Partner Institutions: Purdue University / Université de Paris 
Laureates: Erin Hennes & Virginie Bonnot 

Global progress requires that we identify and address barriers to international climate diplomacy. The current research will take steps toward that goal by examining how temporal construal of climate policy as restorative (“make our planet great again”) vs. progressive (“towards a climate-smart world”) impacts information processing of scientific evidence, susceptibility to misinformation, and support for policy initiatives. Importantly, we will examine whether the same mechanisms underlie resistance to climate policy in a high skepticism context –the United States –and a low skepticism context –France.  
Areas of Study: Climate Change, Psychology 
Year: 2018 

Livestock Production, Environmental Change, and Climate Adaptation in the Global South: Comparative Interdisciplinary Research in Mountain Rangelands of Chile and Lesotho

Partner Institutions: Smith College / INRA-AgroParisTech 
Laureates: Colin Hoag & Meredith Root-Bernstein 

Livestock production has significant impacts on the environment, even as it serves as a critical source of livelihoods for rural people across the globe. With increasing climate changes and their potential impacts on rangeland productivity, developing and supporting sustainable, adaptive strategies for livestock production has become a fundamental issue. While this issue affects the rural global South most acutely, there has been precious little comparative research between South-South systems. This research project makes an important contributing by assessing the social and ecological dynamics of rural, mountain rangelands in Chile and Lesotho through collaborative, interdisciplinary fieldwork and sustained scholarly exchange. 
Areas of Study: Climate Change, Environmental Sciences 
Year: 2018 

Probing Operando Water Distribution in New Generation of Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell Components with Simultaneous X-ray and Neutron Tomography

Partner Institutions: National Institute of Standards / CEA 
Laureates: Jacob LaManna & Arnaud Morin 

The polymer electrode membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) generates clean electricity from hydrogen and oxygen at the high efficiency, producing water as the only by-product. The PEMFC is the most relevant technology for the next generation electrical vehicles. However, platinum group metal (PGM) catalyst is required for the electrochemical reactions to take place, which results in the high cost of the PEMFC. As an alternative, the CEA is developing PGM-free electrode based on abundant metals such as iron and nickel. In the proposed research, the novel fuel cell components will be investigated during operation by using simultaneous neutron and X-ray imaging technique developed at the NIST. 
Areas of Study: Sustainability & Energy Transition, Technology, Engineering, Physics 
Year: 2018 

Iron Supplementation for Pregnant Women and Children in Benin, Sub-Saharan Africa: Formative Research to Identify Best Practices

Partner Institutions: University of North Carolina / Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Santé Publique 
Laureates: Joanna Maselko & Florence Livinec-Bodeau 

Iron deficiency and malaria are leading causes of anemia, particularly in malaria-endemic Sub-Saharan African countries. In 2016, WHO recommended daily iron supplementation among infants and young children living in settings where anemia is highly prevalent. However, we lack sufficient information on best practices to implement iron supplementation, parasite prevention and treatment strategies. We propose a qualitative study to interview women in Benin, Sub-Saharan Africa to better understand perceptions, knowledge and barriers to iron supplementation and parasitic infection prevention and treatment that will inform best practices in the country. 
Areas of Study: Health, Sociology 
Year: 2018 

Engineering Aerial Roots for Plant Stability

Partner Institutions: University of Delaware / CIRAD-INRA-SupAgro 
Laureates: Erin Sparks & Christophe Pradal  

Recent reports suggest that the gains in agricultural yield for major grain crops will be insufficient to meet the food demands in 2050. Overcoming this insufficiency necessitates new approaches to increase crop yields, while growing plants that are resilient to climate change. Plants are faced with the challenge of staying upright in the face severe storms and strong winds. In agriculture, the failure of plants to stay upright is called lodging. Depending on the crop and growth environment, lodging accounts for 5% to 66% of yield loss. Mitigating crop losses due to lodging is one area in which rapid production gains can be made. Here we focus on defining the function of aerial roots in plant stability to mitigate lodging. 
Areas of Study: Climate Change, Agronomy, Biology, Engineering 
Year: 2018 

Numerical and Theoretical Models for Optimal Mixing in Membrane Desalination Systems

Partner Institutions: Colorado School of Mines / CNRS-Aix Marseille Université-Centrale Marseille 
Laureates: Nils Tilton & Denis Martinand 

Population growth, climate change, and diminishing freshwater sources have provoked a water deficit that threatens global energy, food, and economic security. Membrane filtration processes, such as reverse osmosis, offer promising solutions to this crisis through their applications to desalination and treatment of municipal, agricultural and industrial wastewater. This collaboration will develop a unique combination of numerical and theoretical methods that will elucidate the physics of fluid mixing in membrane filtration systems. This knowledge will then be applied to the development of new, sustainable, water treatment systems. 
Areas of Study: Sustainability & Energy Transition, Engineering 
Year: 2018 

Reliable Artificial Intelligence on Energy-Efficient Hardware

Partner Institutions: University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign / IMT Atlantique 
Laureates: Lav. R Varshney & Elsa Dupraz 

Most recent progress in artificial intelligence relies on very large amounts of data and processing resources, which requires much energy. Reducing the energy consumption of artificial intelligence systems will become crucial when these systems are implemented on nano-electronic chips embedded in everyday objects. We will address the question of how AI would process information under energy constraints by considering the interaction between AI algorithms and the noisy nano-electronic chips on which they are implemented. Based on information theory and fault-tolerant computing theory, we will propose a theoretical analysis of the limiting performance of AI systems and we will develop practical AI algorithms under strict energy constraints. 
Areas of Study: Sustainability & Energy Transition, Engineering, Mathematics 
Year: 2018 

CLIMATEFISH, Effects of CLIMATE Change on the Early Life Stages of FISH Species: An Intercontinental Comparison

Partner Institutions: Ball State University / INRA-Université de Lorraine 
Laureates: Paul Venturelli & Fabrice Teletchea 

Freshwater fish are essential to global food security, and particularly vulnerable to climate change. Understanding climate impacts on freshwater fish requires knowledge of how vulnerable life stages such as eggs and hatchlings respond to temperature, and how these responses vary among populations and species. Our project addresses these gaps for European and North American freshwater fishes by updating, analyzing, and making available online an early life stage database that has been in development for the past 12 years. This project will improve our ability to understand, predict, and mitigate climate impacts on temperate freshwater fishes, and establish the database as a tool for addressing hypotheses about ecology and evolution.  
Areas of Study: Biology 
Year: 2018 

Multifunctional Self-sustaining Solar Photocatalytic Membrane Distillation for Wastewater Treatment and Reuse

Partner Institutions: New Mexico State University / CNRS-Université de Montpellier-ENSCM 
Laureates: Pei Xu & Mikhael Bechelany 

Development of renewable energy powered self-sustaining wastewater treatment and reuse technologies is critical to protect public health, provide safe service to ecosystems, address the challenges of water shortage and climate change. This collaborative research aims to develop a solar-powered multi-functional photocatalytic membrane distillation (PMD) system for sustainable water infrastructure.  
Areas of Study: Technology, Engineering, Environmental Sciences 
Year: 2018 

Effective Constructions of Genus 3 CM Curves and Applications to Cryptograph

Partner Institutions: University of Vermont / Université de Picardie Jules Verne 
Laureates: Christelle Vincent & Sorina Ionica 

Complex multiplication algorithms allow to construct Jacobians of hyperelliptic curves whose number of points is known a priori. This knowledge is important to ensure the security of the discrete log problem associated to these Jacobians. This project aims to propose new methods to exhibit genus 3 curves with complex multiplication. To this end, we employ an analytic approach to study certain invariants associated to the curves and improve on their computation. These invariants, given the appropriate reconstruction algorithms, can then be used to explicitly construct the Jacobians we seek. 
Areas of Study: Mathematics 
Year: 2018 

Investigating Local and Alternative Food Systems to Sustain Farms, Farmers, and Farmscapes in a Changing Climate

Partner Institutions: University of Georgia / CNRS-Université Paris Nanterre-Université Paris 8-Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne-Université de Paris 
Laureates: Meredith Welch-Devine & Anne Sourdril 

This project brings together an international, interdisciplinary team of researchers with farmers from France (Pays Basque) and the United States (Southern Appalachia) to investigate approaches to farming in a changing climate that can benefit both farmers and the environment. Agriculture is both a key driver of climate change and a sector expected to be heavily impacted by a warming climate. We seek to understand what approaches can both decrease the climate impacts of food production and make farmers and their communities more resilient to the changes they will face. Importantly, farmers themselves are full partners in the design and implementation of this project. 
Areas of Study: Climate Change, Anthropology, Geography, Economy 
Year: 2018 

Hybrid Materials to Study Topological States of Matter

Partner Institutions: University of Pittsburgh / Institut Néel CNRS 
Laureates: Sergey M Frolov & Moïra Hocevar 

Recently a new generation of superconductor/semiconductor hybrid materials based on epitaxial interfaces has received increased attention due to its promise for realizing quantum computation based on topological protected qubits. In fact, realizing such qubits depends on the ability to make materials that can host so called Majorana bound states. However, controlled formation of such states can only be realized if the superconductor/semiconductor interface is of high quality. This project aims to develop materials from the first stage of nucleation to the evaluation of their topological properties. The interfaces and associated electronic properties will be studied by high-end characterization tools. 
Areas of Study: Physics, Nanoscience 
Year: 2017 

Cryogel-integrated Biochips for Ex-vivo Hepatotoxicity and Anti-cancer Drug Screening of 3D Biomimetic Liver Microtissues

Partner Institutions: Northeastern University / Université de Technologie de Compiègne 
Laureates: Sidi A Bencherif & Ulysse Pereira 

Liver cancer and more specifically hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the third most prevalent cause of cancer-related death. High metastasis and recurrence rates have become the obstacle to improve long-term survival of HCC. Hence, in reality there is still no effective treatment available. The goal of this project is to develop biomimetic cryogel-integrated biochips intended to accurately model in 3-D the structure and function of the extracellular microenvironment of liver tissues. The microfluidic platform is designed to be cellularized to perform dynamic culture with the ultimate objective to reconstruct miniature tumoral and healthy liver tissues for high-throughput screenings for drug safety and effectiveness, reducing the need for often unreliable animal studies. 
Areas of Study: Health 
Year: 2017 

Olfactory Navigation Using Naturally Fluctuating Odor Cues

Partner Institutions: University of Washington / Institut de Physique de Nice 
Laureates: David Gire & Agnese Seminara 

Living systems constantly make decisions based on a large array of sensory inputs that inform them of their environment. Chemical cues bear a fundamental source of information, that all domains of life extract with sophisticated mechanisms. In all animal species, odorants reach the receptors via an aqueous phase suggesting a common evolutionary history. Moreover, while different species use olfaction to tailor their decision-making onto specific computational needs, the neural architecture underlying the sense of smell is remarkably similar. To unravel the fundamental principles that shape olfactory driven decision-making, we target a connection between the physics of odor transport in the air and animal behavior during olfactory navigation tasks. 
Areas of Study: Biology 
Year: 2017 

Study of Advanced Mobility and Traffic Safety Technologies Using a Virtual Reality and Motion-based Driving Simulation Environment

Partner Institutions: University of Nevada Las Vegas / École Française d’Électronique et d’Informatique 
Laureates: Alexander Paz & Dario Vieira 

The objective of this project is to study the effects of advanced mobility and traffic safety technologies using a virtual reality and interactive simulation environment at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. Examples of technologies that can be studied using the proposed environment include: (a) autonomous vehicles, (b) demand-responsive transverse pedestrian and bicycle rumble strips, (c) demand-responsive traffic signals, (d) connected vehicles, and (e) driving information. Development and field testing of these technologies involving actual users is expensive, time consuming, and/or unsafe. Statistical and cognitive analyses are planned to draw insights from large numbers of samples, survey questionnaires, and physiological measurements. 
Areas of Study: Engineering, Computer Science / Information 
Year: 2017 

Legal Diffusion in the Late Medieval Church: Local Ecclesiastical Legislation in France and its Neighbors, 1215-1500

Partner Institutions: Stanford University / Université de Lorraine 
Laureates: Rowan Dorin & Christine Barralis 

Throughout the later Middle Ages, bishops across Latin Christendom promulgated legislation to guide the clergy and instruct the faithful within their jurisdictions. Until now, the extent and dispersion of the surviving sources has made impossible for scholars to explore systematically this corpus. Using a new digital database of this legislation, this project aims to study the diffusion, creation, transformation, and resilience of ecclesiastical norms within the dioceses and provinces of medieval France and its neighbors from 1215-1500. By exploring the scope, mechanisms, rhythms, and limits of legal transfer in these jurisdictions, the project will shed new light on the role played by local legislation in advancing –or resisting –this effort. 
Areas of Study: History, Legal History 
Year: 2017 

Combining Satellite Measurements and Numerical Flood Prediction Models to Save Lives and Property from Flooding: The New York Metropolitan Area Test Bed

Partner Institutions: Stevens Institute of Technology / Institut National des Sciences Appliquées de Strasbourg 
Laureates: Firas Saleh & Pierre André Garambois 

Urban-coastal regions are becoming increasingly vulnerable to compound impacts from coastal storm surge and riverine flooding. The challenges in predicting floods in such areas are multi-faceted due to non-stationary processes such as urbanization, sea level rise and increased frequency of extreme storm events. We propose a collaboration to initiate scientific discussions and evaluate potential implementation of satellite data in real time operational flood forecasting systems. The capabilities will be illustrated by retrospectively forecasting local scale impacts from extreme storm events such as hurricanes Irene, Lee and Sandy in the New York metropolitan area. 
Areas of Study: Technology, Climate Change 
Year: 2017 

What Do French and American Teachers Know About the Science of Learning? A Trans-continental Collaboration

Partner Institutions: University of Massachusetts Lowell / Université de Picardie Jules Verne 
Laureates: Yana Weinstein & Mathieu Hainselin 

To find out what educators in France and the U.S. currently believe, we will run an online survey in which respondents will be asked to indicate whether they agree with a series of statements about how students learn. Some of these statements will be supported by research, while others will instead describe false beliefs that are commonly held about learning. We will also ask respondents to tell us where they get their information about how students learn: popular books, academic journals, etc. The gathered information will then be used to guide the creation of workshops for teachers, which will include hands-on activities designed for teachers to get acquainted with the science of learning and opportunities to discuss learning research with cognitive psychologists. 
Areas of Study: Psychology, Education 
Year: 2017 

Challenges to Mass Democracy: Social Inequality and Fragmentation in Large-scale Liberal Democracies

Partner Institutions: Duke University / Université Jean Moulin Lyon 3 
Laureates: Genvieve Rousseliere & Charles Girard 

“Challenges to Democracy” is an interdisciplinary project on liberal democracies bringing together political scientists, political philosophers, historians and legal theorists. This project focuses on the challenges to democracy, in particular those created by increasing economic inequality and the social fragmentation of the citizenry. The main purpose of this project is to create a transatlantic scholarly network of reflection around the issue of democracy and its challenges, and to organize two large conferences for involved scholars to discuss their work.  
Areas of Study: Political Science, History, Philosophy 
Year: 2017 

Mechanics-Chemistry Interactions in Energy Storage

Partner Institutions: Purdue University / Université de Picardie Jules Verne 
Laureates: Partha Mukherjee & Alejandro A. Franco 

Due to its large theoretical capacity, silicon is a potential candidate for an electrode material in lithium-ion batteries. Though the biggest hurdle in obtaining this is the large volume expansion observed during lithium alloying with silicon. The main scope of this project is to develop a tractable framework which includes volume expansion of silicon and couple this with the electrochemical characteristics.   
Areas of Study: Engineering, Chemistry, Mathematics 
Year: 2017 


Vincent Lépinay
Program Officer