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Shearer receives BETHA grant for Global Sustainable Village

Professor Scott Shearer, chair of the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, has been named one of six recipients of a 2018 Battelle Engineering, Technology and Human Affairs (BETHA) grant.

FABE Chair Scott Shearer at Waterman FarmThe BETHA Endowment annual grant competition helps fund projects at the complex intersection between science, technology, society, and cultural issues. This year, a record number of 37 proposals were submitted.

Shearer’s proposal was the Global Sustainable Village (GSV), an on-campus re-creation of authentic living spaces that integrate sustainable innovations with humanitarian development. The GSV will serve as a physical focal point to foster student learning, interdisciplinary collaboration and strengthen Ohio State partnerships to improve the impact of community development efforts.

“We increasingly see Ohio State students who want to use their learning to improve the human condition around the globe,” said Shearer. “What we have been missing is an authentic environment for them to pilot the great work they are doing with international partners right here in Columbus before they travel.”

The GSV will be located at the Waterman Agricultural and Natural Resources Laboratory on the Ohio State Columbus campus and feature a system of simulated living environments around a central convening facility. The village will be representative of current humanitarian development and innovation work being done by the university in conjunction with local and international partners.

When completed, the GSV will provide much-needed context to students as they prepare for humanitarian development and service-learning projects. Having a physical place to prototype and experiment will give students a collaborative and hands-on learning experience.

“We want to be leaders in developing and proving out models for sustainable living and engaging in community development – here in Central Ohio and around the world," said Shearer. "The GSV will give students and faculty across many disciplines the opportunity to do exactly that.”

As plans for the GSV continue to develop, Shearer and his team are seeking input from a host of partners before the final design is completed. Site assessment for the Global Sustainable Village will begin this autumn, with a goal of being completed by spring of 2020.

by Chip Tuson, Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering