PhD Opportunity: Food and Energy Solutions, University of Arizona

I am looking for 1-2 PhD students to start in the Fall of 2020 to work on sustainable solutions for our food and energy systems. Cities and states—particularly those in the Western United States—are increasingly seek resilience strategies to manage expanding populations and demands for food and energy. At the same time, a changing climate threatens our historic reliance on dwindling sources of water and may reduce capacity for food and renewable energy production. For the last five years, we have been studying the potential for co-locating agriculture and photovoltaics—agrivoltaics—as an untapped opportunity to simultaneously increase food and energy production while reducing water use.

This project will provide students an opportunity to learn physical science in an applied setting, working on areal-world problem. You can learn more about this project, by checking out this portion of our website: https://www.barrongafford.org/agrivoltaics.html
Also, here is a free read link to our recent article on this work: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41893-019-0364-5.epdf?author_access_token=RduqgDWgyu90mvu-RB6DW9RgN0jAjWel9jnR3ZoTv0O97Lc9kleZWba0tQ-k-7tIlZGbnB6ZL4SOzl8a4rPD9IuBrjAeWq–cJR60bfbCroy01kiCE8CKI6Of6hGsKYrJ74WecY0rcX7lhteq3zLcw%3D%3D

Our Research Group uses a combination of field measurements of carbon and water fluxes (plant ecophysiology) and environmental monitoring to describe the impacts of this co-location in terms of water use efficiency, changes in phenology, plant performance, impacts of solar panel performance, potential for up-scaling to larger installations, etc. We have a new project beginning in 2020 across multiple working food producers in California and Colorado, in addition to existing efforts in Arizona.

Students with a background in physical geography, carbon and water flux measurements, ecology, ecohydrology, and / or urban food systems are encouraged to apply, but prior knowledge of plant ecophysiological techniques should not be a barrier for an interested student.

The deadline for fall admission is January 5 for both domestic and international applicants: https://geography.arizona.edu/node/555

The position would have guaranteed funding through the first four years through a combination of TAships and RAships, and we have summer finding covered as well. We are a diverse group looking to use our research to make meaningful change in the world. Our research group is committed to fostering an inclusive learning and working environment that embraces the diversity of experiences and interests represented in our communities and the broader world.

Please reach out via email if you are interested.

Greg Barron-Gafford
Associate Professor
School of Geography & Development;
B2 Earthscience, Biosphere 2
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ 85721, USA
website: http://www.barrongafford.org/
520.548.0388