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USF Engineering prof. receives Gates Foundation Grand Challenges funding | Environment

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USF Engineering prof. receives Gates Foundation Grand Challenges funding
USF Engineering prof. receives Gates Foundation Grand Challenges funding

TAMPA, Fla. - The University of South Florida announced Monday it will receive funding through Grand Challenges Explorations, an initiative created by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, that enables researchers worldwide to test unorthodox ideas that address persistent health and development challenges.

Daniel Yeh, associate professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering, will pursue an innovative global health research project, titled "NEWgenerator for recovery of nutrients, energy and water from human wastes."

Using advanced membrane biotechnology, Yeh and his research team aim to develop a decentralized sanitation technology for harnessing nutrients, energy and water from wastewater for safe reuse.  The goal of the NEWgenerator is to simultaneously address critical needs for sanitation, fuel and food production for communities worldwide. 

In partnership with Learning Gate Community School, an environmentally-themed K-9 charter school in Tampa Bay, the research team will build and field test a pilot version of the NEWgenerator.  They will also work with Learning Gate teachers to incorporate bioenergy and other engineering solutions into the curriculum.

Grand Challenges Explorations funds scientists and researchers worldwide to explore ideas that can break the mold in how we solve persistent global health and development challenges. Professor Yeh's project is one of 110 Grand Challenges Explorations grants announced Monday. 

"We believe in the power of innovation-that a single bold idea can pioneer solutions to our greatest health and development challenges," Chris Wilson, Director of Global Health Discovery for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said in a release. "Grand Challenges Explorations seeks to identify and fund these new ideas wherever they come from, allowing scientists, innovators and entrepreneurs to pursue the kinds of creative ideas and novel approaches that could help to accelerate the end of polio, cure HIV infection or improve sanitation."

Projects that are receiving funding show promise in tackling priority global health issues where solutions do not yet exist.  This includes finding effective methods to eliminate or control infectious diseases such as polio and HIV as well as discovering new sanitation technologies.

To learn more about Grand Challenges Explorations, visit www.grandchallenges.org.

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