The NAU-MSU Asia Hub Network creates opportunities for the best researchers from Nanjing Agricultural University, Michigan State University, and more than 10 regional partner institutions to work together on cool science that matters. Our priority is WEF: water, energy, and food—not as separate issues but as key components of a complex and dynamic system that is fundamental to everyone on the planet and that must be sustained. WEF integrates biophysical factors such as soils and land with economic and social structures that drive decision making in the real world. The WEF Asia Hub Network creates a “space” for a variety of disciplinary and global perspectives to intermingle and coalesce into novel concepts and ideas. That’s the cool science. But the Network also tethers these ideas to real world problems in interesting places. That’s the part that matters.
The WEF Asia Hub Network is all about connections, and so we regularly mix things up and mingle ideas at workshops. These are not your typical scientific sessions where subject matter experts interact with one another. Rather, we expose subject matter experts to perspectives that lie within the realm of their interest yet beyond the periphery of their own expertise. We want novel ideas to emerge, new collaborations to form, and impactful research to get done. The Network has some funding to jump start novel research ideas, but more importantly, we have deep relationships with external funders that understand cool science and how it can help solve WEF problems. This optimizes chances for significant levels of external funding to sustain research partnerships focused on Asia—a place where WEF issues are challenging and complex.
The NAU-MSU Asia Hub Network seeks to expand the horizons of researchers who are confident about what they know yet curious about what lies at the edges of their expertise and beyond. They should be at ease with challenges, novelty, and risks, and excited about exploring new global WEF perspectives on the world’s fastest growing and most dynamic continent.