Meeting the Global Sustainable Development Goals on a Changing Planet with Limited Land and Water Resources

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Mellon Grand Challenge Project: From Global to Local to Global (GLG)



This GLG project is funded by the Mellon Foundation Initiative at Purdue University – Breaking Through: Developing Interdisciplinary Solutions to Global Grand Challenges. The project duration is May 2017 through the end of 2018. The project team consists of researchers from multiple disciplines:

Social Science: Thomas Hertel, Agricultural Economics (PI and team lead) and Manjana Milkoreit, Political Science (Co-PI)
STEM: Laura Bowling, Agronomy & Agricultural and Biological Engineering (Co-PI), Sylvie Brouder, Agronomy (Co-PI), Carol Song, ITAP (Co-PI), Jeffrey Volenec, Agronomy (Co-PI)
Libraries: Nicole Kong, Library Science (Co-PI)


The overall goal of this project is to leverage existing knowledge, models and data to understand and communicate the interplay between global change and local sustainability of US agriculture in the context of alternative national, state and local policies affecting agricultural productivity and environmental quality. The specific aims of the project focus on bridging research and dissemination


Most work in this area suffers from one of the following limitations: (1) it is disciplinary in nature, (2) it focuses only on local outcomes, ignoring global drivers of change, or (3) it is proprietary, or at least not readily replicable by other researchers. As such, it is not as effective as it could be in engaging stakeholders and influencing policy outcomes .


This project uses the GLASS platform and findings from the USDA-AFRI long run sustainability project to engage stakeholders on a variety of sustainability issues facing US agriculture. Our stakeholder communication plan (Figure )  will build on these foundations when developing recommendations that take into consideration scale-specific challenges and global context. The project will culminate in a public event, to be held at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, in the fall of 2018. This policy conference will include high level panels aimed at a reaching broad range of policy makers, stakeholders and news media, as well as a “rapid response” style of a hands-on session to investigate questions raised in the panel sessions and demonstrate the utility of interactive exploration using tools hosted on the GeoHub.