Interdisciplinary research in mineral resources gets a boost with new initiative

January 3, 2022

At the University of Arizona, a new program, The Mineral Resources Research and Innovation Initiative, was rolled out in the context of the School of Mining and Mineral Resources. It is devised to provide both seed funding and strategic investments toward fundamental and/or collaborative, interdisciplinary team research and education related to significant or interdisciplinary problems in mineral resources by University of Arizona faculty, staff, and students. The initiators of the initiative expected to fund between 10-20 projects.

This estimate proved spot-on with 17 proposals from across campus arriving which represented seven different colleges by early November. Mark Barton, Director Lowell Institute for Mineral Resources, who spearheads the initiative, is especially pleased with the variety of topics: “The proposals range from basic science to multiple applications including outreach and education support, as well as support for collaborations internally and with industry, government and other universities.” The proposed research is not limited to seasoned researchers, either: The majority of proposals supports students at the graduate and undergraduate level. And by including outreach activities for young people, a new generation will be made familiar with the importance and minerals resources in our lives. What’s more, in a side-by side comparison with the various tracks of the upcoming transdisciplinary minor, nearly every track is represented.

In early December, the proposals have been reviewed by a wide range of faculty representing multiple areas of expertise. Funding will begin in January 2022, the funding decisions will be made well before the end of the year. Barton: “The reviewers have already signaled that virtually all proposals are meritorious. We are looking forward to help along a number of projects that use education, training, research, or community outreach and engagement to encompass responsible and sustainable production and use of mineral resources.”


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